Roasted Caprese Salad

By Christina Collins

“Not so classic” Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad refers to a Tomato & Mozzarella salad. The more common variety of this salad features fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil. And while nothing is quite a wonderful as a vine ripened fresh tomato in the peak of summer, nothing is quite as terrible as a fresh tomato grown halfway around the world in the dead of winter. So with one of two main ingredients being extremely seasonal, it’s hard to find a really good Caprese salad in the northeast during winter. Unless, you roast the tomatoes!

Caprese Salad

Slow roasting plum tomatoes in the oven helps bring all their sweetness and delicious rich flavors out. The tomatoes are absolutely delicious served by themselves, in a salad, alongside a chicken or steak, but my favorite way to serve these roasted tomatoes is by making a Caprese salad. This twist on Tomato & Mozzarella salad will have you dreaming of summer.

With so few ingredients in this Caprese salad, or any Caprese salad, the quality of the ingredients in this dish is vital to its success. You need to select really good fresh mozzarella, preferably from a good Italian market or cheese shop. I use a basic balsamic vinegar for the roasting, and I finish with a high quality, thick balsamic that I use sparingly for drizzling.

If you are local to 203 or 914, my favorite fresh mozzarella is made by Liuzzi Cheese which is made in Hamden, CT, but sold at Greenwich/Fairfield Cheese Shop and other markets where available. My favorite balsamic used strictly for drizzling is Compagnia DelMontale Vigna Oro which is a thicker style of Balsamic Vinegar, but not quite as thick or sweet as a balsamic syrup. It’s about $30.00 at Whole Foods, which is why I use it very sparingly, but it lasts forever and is absolutely delicious!

Caprese Salad

Roasted Caprese Salad

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 12 plum tomatoes halved lengthwise, seeds (not cores) removed
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 ounces fresh salted mozzarella
  • 12 fresh basil leaves julienned

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
  • Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer.
  • Drizzle with 1/4 cup of olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with the garlic, sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 2 hours until the tomatoes are concentrated and begin to caramelize.
  • Allow the tomatoes to cool to room temperature.
  • Cut the mozzarella into slices slightly less than 1/2-inch thick. (If the slices of mozzarella are larger than the tomatoes, cut the mozzarella slices in half.)
  • Layer the tomatoes alternately with the mozzarella on a platter and scatter the basil on top.
  • Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with olive oil and a very good quality, thick balsamic vinegar or syrup.
  • Serve at room temperature.

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