Day: August 2, 2011

Caprese Salad with an Herb Vinaigrette

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Here’s something that I had tried to put together.  Originally I had the idea to make a Caprese Pie (which I still want to make), but alas I was fresh out of Pate Brisee.  So instead of trying to reinterpret a Caprese salad, I decided to try to switch it up a little bit.  This is a great summertime dish because prep can be so simple.  And who wants to be bogged down in a hot kitchen during the summer?  Not this guy!  The hardest thing you need to do could be just washing the veg!  Plus tomatoes are so good right now!  And when you can get a bushel of basil from the local farmer’s market for $1, it’s a match made in heaven.

Now after a little bit of research, what everyone knows as a Caprese salad really isn’t the one from Capri.  According to Epicurious, the original salad was served with arugula and dried oregano, both of which grew wild on the island.  Plus, it is served with olive oil only.  The vinegar would be detrimental to the flavor of the dish and overpower some of the more delicate notes.  My take does have an herb vinaigrette and the moscatel vinegar that I used can be a little overwhelming, but I make a nice emulsion with some basil and oregano which does help tame it a bit.  Here’s what you need:

  • 2 fresh tomatoes, cut in half and sliced 1/4 in. thick
  • 2 lbs. fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4 in. thick half rounds
  • 1/4 c. moscatel vinegar
  • 3/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 c. fresh herbs (I used basil and oregano), coarsely chopped.
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salt & pepper, to taste

1.  In a small food processor, chop the basil, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Drizzle the olive oil and vinegar over the top and blend well.

2.  While the dressing marries, arrange the tomatoes and mozzarella on the plate.  I made a circular pattern alternating the cheese and tomatoes.  In the center I put a chiffonade of some basil.

3.  Pour some of the dressing on top and you are ready to serve!  Simple!

Notes — If you like you could try using a more neutral vinegar, but I like the tartness of the moscatel. . . I think that you could add a lot of interest to this salad by using some heirloom tomatoes and different kinds of herbs like some purple basil. . . I also did a lazier version where I just coarsely chopped everything and tossed it with the vinaigrette — very rustic!