Caprese Salad With Reduced Balsmic & Buffalo Mozzarella Bocconcini
I’m about to get all up in your face with my snobby tomatoes. You know, the REAL, heirloom kind. The ones that aren’t perfectly uniform, altogether unsymmetrical and absolutely DIVINE tasting. Yea, those ones.
Now, you could make this salad with regular variety beefsteak tomatoes, but for the love of gawd please don’t make them with GMO knock off, fake ‘heirloom’ tomatoes. Please just no. It just won’t taste the same and part of the absolute bliss in eating this salad comes from only being able to enjoy it in this state (with such a variety of home-grown tomatoes), oh but one time of year. When tomatoes are ripe and ready to be plucked off of the vine.
Which, for me – happened late as they were planted late. Lucky us…we’ve received a warm fall so far which allowed all of my green tomatoes the time they needed to grow and ripen into rock-star status. Heirloom tomatoes would in fact be rock-stars if they could, I think.
So now that you’re all quite certain of just how much I love growing, eating and waxing poetic (sort of), about tomatoes, we can move right along to what you’re really all here for, (I think?) A simple yet damned good caprese salad recipe.
- 4 cups Balsamic Vinegar (there will be leftover for all sorts of other glorious in your mouth things…this is what you want)
- 3 Cherokee Purple tomatoes (thick slices)
- 3 Black Krim tomatoes (thick slices)
- Large handful of Chadwick Cherry, Small Black Plum and Golden Cherry tomatoes (quartered or halved depending on sizes)
- 1 pound of fresh Buffalo Mozzarella Bocconcini
- 1 pound or so of fresh basil leaves, two kinds: italian and bush
- Quality (I use Spectrum organic) olive oil
- Coarse sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- If you're swift, you can reduce the balsamic at the same time you are prepping and assembling your salad.
- Measure out your balsamic vinegar and bring it to a boil in a heavy bottomed pot. Reduce to simmer for 20 minutes with the lid off allowing it to reduce. It may only appear to be somewhat thick in consistency; not to worry. It will thicken up as it cools. Feel free to put it in the fridge to speed up the cooling process.
- Meanwhile, wash and thickly slice the black krim and cherokee purple tomatoes and set aside in a bowl.
- Wash, de-stem and dry the basil, set aside.
- Wash and cut the remaining tomatoes; chadwick, golden and plum. Set aside in a bowl.
- Thickly slice the buffalo mozzarella, set aside.
- You want to create a procession line of all your ingredients to layer the caprese salad together. Some say stack it, which if I'm serving on individual plates, I'll do. But I was serving this salad family style with fresh bread, roasted garlic heads and roasted red pepper, sweet potato soup, so.
- Begin with a slice of either the Black Krim or Cherokee Purple Tomato, followed by a slice of mozzarella and finish with a sprig of each kind of basil. Bush basil leaves are quite a bit smaller than italian lettuce style basil so it won't be overpowering. Especially given how large the slices of Cherokee Purple and Black Krim tomatoes are going to likely be. You may in fact want to halve some of the larger slices to foster an even distribution of flavours and a most complimentary execution. You want your salad to look sexy, right?
- Basically all you do is repeat, layer after layer, altering between the Cherokee Purple and Black Krim tomatoes. I quite enjoyed how this looked on a oval plate. If you have one. Your guests, even if they're wily toddlers, probably will too. I got a ooo! and and ahhh! from both of mine. I WIN.
- Toss the remaining tomatoes; black plum, chadwick cherry and golden cherry together in a bowl with an even amount of the basils and mozz and arrange in the center of the plate.
- Finish off by drizzling with humble and equal amounts of olive oil and reduced balsamic. You want all of the flavours to shine through here. Don't drench it in oil and reduced vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- Feed some adoring hungry people and welcome them as they fall at your feet.
- Moan all of the moans as you savour each and every morsel yourself.