Saturday, November 16, 2013

Caprese Salad

Rich balsamic glaze.... Deliciously ripe tomatoes....

Soft fresh mozzarella.....and a crunch of green basil.

All these things make this is a go to favorite of mine. It's a great balance of protein from the cheese and sugar from the tomatoes, making it a great afternoon 'tea time' snack. It's also versatile - it can stand on it's own, and pairs well with a soup or sandwich.

Today while out grocery shopping I saw these amazing tomatoes. I've seen them before, but never bought them. They were on sale and I had basil and mozzarella at home, so I thought I'd impulse buy these and work a caprese salad into my weekly menu plan.

Let me tell you - they did not disappoint. I'm not sure if I'd buy them at full price, but they were worth every penny I spent on them today.

Brown 'Kumato' Tomatoes

I also found out that in addition to tasting great, brown tomatoes have a really interesting history. They contain a higher amount of sugar than regular tomatoes and were developed in Spain during a round of cross breeding experiments. As a result of being a 'select' variety, the seeds and cultivation of them is highly controlled and 'reproduction rights' are only given after a very detailed selection process. For more information check out this wikipedia link. Now if you're thinking you'll be a smarty pants and plant seeds from the tomatoes you buy at the store, be my guest. However, because the tomatoes are a hybrid the plants grown from the seeds will not be the same as the parent plant. Thank you genetics!

Anyway, this gem of a salad is tasty, beautiful, and really fun to serve at dinner parties. You don't have to make it with these 'invite only' type tomatoes. Any beefsteak style tomatoes will work. Because you're eating them fresh, try to pick the best ones you can.

A view from the top


1 package of Kumato Brown Tomatoes (usually 4 in a pack)
16 oz ball or log of fresh mozzarella cheese
1 bunch fresh basil
Balsamic Glaze
Extra virgin olive oil

Slice each tomato into 3-4 slices. Cut the mozzarella* into the same number of slices. If you end up with 12 tomato slices, make 12 mozzarella slices.

Layer  the cheese a tomatoes, starting with cheese and ending with tomato on top - this prevents the stack from sliding around if you plan on moving your plates. Stack basil leaves in a stack, roll, and cut into ribbons and loosen gently with fingers.

Drizzle olive oil and balsamic glaze over each tomato and cheese stack, then sprinkle with basil ribbons.

Serve immediately!

*Tips - to slice mozzarella without totally smashing it, use a marble cheese slicer (I have this one), or dental floss! Wrap the floss around your fingers and press firmly but gently down on the cheese. Check out this video for a quick tutorial. If you didn't know - dental floss has many many uses in the kitchen.

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