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Caprese Salad Four Ways

By Marguerite Henderson
If you're a lover of tomatoes, this batch of recipes is just for you.

Marguerite Henderson shares four different variations of Caprese Salad.

Method:

Somewhat Traditional Caprese Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh mixed greens
  • 2 large ripe red tomatoes, ends trimmed, each cut into 4 thick slices
  • 2 yellow tomatoes, ends trimmed, each cut into 4 thick slices
  • 1 lb. fresh mozzarella, cut into 16 slices
  • 16 leaves fresh basil
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 T. capers
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. coarse ground pepper
  • ¼ lb prosciutto, thinly sliced (optional)

Method:

Place mixed greens on serving platter. Alternate the red tomato slice, a mozzarella slice, a basil leaf, yellow tomato slice, mozzarella slice, basil leaf, etc. in a concentric circle on the mixed greens. Separate the red onion rings and place over the tomatoes, sprinkle on the capers, drizzle on the olive oil, sprinkle on salt and pepper. Roll the thinly sliced prosciutto into rosettes and place on salad. Serves 4-6.

Note:
There are many versions of Caprese salad, but I like this salad with the addition of the capers and onions. I don’t use vinegar on this salad because it changes the fresh flavor of the mozzarella…use your best extra virgin olive oil for this salad. I like the red and yellow tomatoes for contrast, but when yellow tomatoes are not in season, use the best red tomatoes you can find. I also look for heirloom tomatoes in the farmer’s markets in summer. They add a different dimension to the salad, too.

Deconstructed Caprese Salad With Burrata and Roasted Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound container of burrata cheese (found in most supermarkets), drained of whey
  • 8-12 Campari tomatoes, strawberry or pear-shaped on the vine (can be found in specialty food stores, or if not available, use the freshest 1½” diameter tomatoes in market)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 cups fresh mixed greens
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Ground black pepper

Method:

Cut the burrata cheese balls in half. Set aside. Place tomatoes in a baking dish or on a parchment lined baking sheet, sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Roast on middle rack of a 400o oven for 10 minutes just until they are warmed through and starting to wrinkle. Place the mixed greens on one-third of a large decorative platter. Place the mozzarella next to mixed greens; arrange the roasted tomatoes (with their vines still attached) next to mozzarella. Drizzle all the components with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with chopped fresh basil. Grind black pepper over salad, and serve at once. Serves 4-6.

Pasta Caprese

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound imported penne pasta, cooked “al dente”, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large bunch fresh basil leaves (about 2 cups)
  • 2 pounds Roma tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup pearl shaped mozzarella balls (perline)
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Method:

Have the pasta cooked and in a large bowl. In a food processor or blender, place the garlic, basil, tomatoes, salt, pepper and olive oil. Pulse on and off until coarsely chopped, not pureed. Taste for seasoning. Add a little sugar to the sauce if it tastes bitter. It all depends on the variety and flavor of your tomatoes. Pour the sauce over the pasta, add the Parmesan cheese and mozzarella, toss well. Serve at once. Serves 6-8.

Grilled Peaches Caprese

Ingredients:

  • 4 large peaches, pitted and halved
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-3 cups arugula
  • 8 ciliengene mozzarella (cherry sized), drained
  • ½ cup chopped mint leaves
  • ½ cup chopped basil leaves
  • Sprinkle of kosher salt
  • Balasamic glaze (found at Trader Joe’s)

Method:

Rub the peaches, cut side, with olive oil. Heat an outdoor grill to medium or a grill pan. Grill the peaches, cut side down, for 2-3 minutes just until grill marks appear. Remove to a platter lined with arugula. Place one mozzarella ball in the center of each peach. Sprinkle with mint and basil leaves, salt and swirl balsamic glaze (thicker than vinegar) decoratively over the platter. Serve at once. Serves 8.

Substituting peaches for tomatoes (both fruits), brings out the sweetness of the peaches and pairs beautifully with mozzarella, mint and basil, and then a judicious swirl of balsamic vinegar to finish off the dish.

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