I rediscovered the Caprese Salad when I was going to school in Italy. I had eaten this tomato and mozzarella salad before, but never one like this. It’s incredible to think that a dish composed of such simple elements can vary so greatly with the use of fresh and good quality ingredients at the helm. The tomatoes were flavorful and meaty, the buffalo mozzarella sublime (read my panini post, buffalo mozzarella is the only way to go). The combination of basil, olive oil, and aged balsamic vinegar was aromatic and complex with a hint of sweetness.
When I make this dish at home, I prefer to use heirloom tomatoes for their great flavor and texture. Additionally, to add another dimension of flavor I found basil oil adds a delicate basil essence throughout the plate. This dish is great as an appetizer, a side, or even for a light lunch.
- 3 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced ¼ inch
- 2 – 8oz balls of buffalo mozzarella, sliced ¼ inch
- Aged balsamic vinegar for drizzling, alternatively you can create a balsamic reduction (instructions below)
- Basil Oil for drizzling
- salt and pepper
- Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella ¼ inch thick. If you are using buffalo mozzarella, gently press the sliced cheese between two paper towels to remove the excess moisture.
- If you do not have a good quality aged balsamic vinegar on hand, you can create a balsamic reduction by adding your desired amount (at least ½ cup) of balsamic vinegar to a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Stirring occasionally, heat 10 – 20 minutes or until the vinegar as thickened. Do not let it reduce down too much, or you will end up with a chewy molasses-like texture.
- Alternately arrange the tomato and mozzarella slices on a plate. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and basil oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.