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Caprese Inspired Salad with Basil Tomato Vinaigrette

Caprese Inspired Salad with Basil Tomato Vinaigrette

After a busy weekend it’s nice to lighten things up with a gorgeous salad – one made with a little inspiration from the classic Caprese salad, complete with a tangy basil and tomato vinaigrette.

The combination of red ripe tomatoes, fragrant basil and bites of creamy mozzarella cheese, with its slightly salty note is hard to beat.

A Caprese salad is typically dressed with the simplicity of a rich olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. So just imagine if you took those same fabulous flavors and added a few more.

Start with a bit of tang – delivered in the form of a robust red wine vinegar – plus a squeeze of fresh lemon, a dollop of Dijon and a splash of luscious aged balsamic. Toss in a savory note, compliments of garlic then soften the edges with a touch of brown sugar. There’s only a short list of ingredients but the flavor they bring is big!

You can use Campari, Roma or plum tomatoes for the vinaigrette. For a silky vinaigrette, seed the tomatoes first. Just cut them in half, give them a gentle squeeze the scoop out any remaining seeds. It’s not necessary, so your preference.

To pull the salad together simply spread out a bed of crisp red butter lettuce and top with wedges of vine ripe tomatoes, pearls of mozzarella, leaves of basil and thin rings of red onion. Then drizzle the rich and vibrant vinaigrette over the salad and the summer flavors come alive!

Despite the heat, summer tastes pretty spectacular!

Caprese Inspired Salad with Basil Tomato Vinaigrette

For the vinaigrette:

1 cup chopped, Campari tomatoes, about 5 to 6 – seeded if preferred for a silkier texture

1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed to measure

1 teaspoon chopped garlic, about 2 cloves

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ cup good red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar, such as Guisti

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, such as Maille

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad:

6 to 7 leaves Red Butter or Butter lettuce

5 to 6 Campari tomatoes cut into wedges

1/3 cup mozzarella pearls, or slices of mozzarella

16 to 18 leaves of fresh basil

2 to 3 very thin slices of red onion, separated

Kosher or sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper for seasoning

To make the vinaigrette:

Toss the chopped tomatoes into a blender along with the fresh basil.

Add the chopped garlic, the brown sugar, kosher salt, pepper.

Pour in the lemon juice, the wine vinegar, the balsamic vinegar along with the Dijon mustard.

Process starting on low speed for about 10 seconds, then turn up to medium speed and blend until the basil and tomatoes are puréed and smooth, about 30 seconds.

Pour in the olive oil and process on medium speed for about 20 seconds, blending until the vinaigrette is smooth and creamy.

Let the vinaigrette chill overnight, allowing the flavors to meld together and intensify.

Makes about 2-1/4 cups of vinaigrette.

To assemble the salad:

Line a platter with the lettuce leaves.

Toss the tomato wedges across the lettuce along with the pearls of mozzarella.Scatter the basil leaves and the slices of red onion over the salad and season with a sprinkling of kosher or sea salt and pepper.

Drizzle the salad with the basil-tomato vinaigrette and toss to coat.

Serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as an entrée.

Caprese Inspired Salad with Basil Tomato Vinaigrette, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

August 19, 2019
: Salad serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as an entree. Makes about 2-1/4 cups of vinaigrette.

It’s nice to lighten things up a bit with a gorgeous salad – one made with a little inspiration from the classic Caprese salad, complete with a tangy basil and tomato vinaigrette.

By:

Ingredients
  • For the vinaigrette:
  • 1 cup chopped, seeded Campari tomatoes, about 5 to 6 – seeded if preferred for a silkier texture
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed to measure
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, about 2 cloves
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup good red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar, such as Guisti
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, such as Maille
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • For the salad:
  • 6 to 7 leaves Red Butter or Butter lettuce
  • 5 to 6 Campari tomatoes cut into wedges
  • 1/3 cup mozzarella pearls, or slices of mozzarella
  • 16 to 18 leaves of fresh basil
  • 2 to 3 very thin slices of red onion, separated
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper for seasoning
Directions
  • Step 1 To make the vinaigrette:
  • Step 2 Toss the chopped tomatoes into a blender along with the fresh basil.
  • Step 3 Add the chopped garlic, the brown sugar, kosher salt, pepper.
  • Step 4 Pour in the lemon juice, the wine vinegar, the balsamic vinegar along with the Dijon mustard.
  • Step 5 Process starting on low speed for about 10 seconds, then turn up to medium speed and blend until the basil and tomatoes are puréed and smooth, about 30 seconds.
  • Step 6 Pour in the olive oil and process on medium speed for about 20 seconds, blending until the vinaigrette is smooth and creamy. Let the vinaigrette chill overnight, allowing the flavors to meld together and intensify.
  • Step 7 To assemble the salad:
  • Step 8 Line a platter with the lettuce leaves.
  • Step 9 Toss the tomato wedges across the lettuce along with the pearls of mozzarella. Scatter the basil leaves and the slices of red onion over the salad.
  • Step 10 Season with a sprinkling of kosher or sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Step 11 Drizzle the salad with the basil-tomato vinaigrette and toss to coat.

 



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