Insalata Caprese is my husband’s most favorite salad. I purchase the best possible tomatoes when I make this salad, and if I can’t find good, vine ripened tomatoes, I won’t make the salad. My favorite (other than out of someone’s garden… of course) are Campari Tomatoes. They always have great flavor, but sometimes are hard to find. Luckily, my local Costco usually carries them. The best part is the balsamic reduction…. its so delicious and really looks great on the plate.
Insalata Caprese Recipe
1 yellow bell pepper
1/2 c good balsamic vinegar
2 medium or 4 small tomatoes (depends on the
4 fresh mozzarella balls (Bocconcini)
several springs of basil, chiffonade (chopped in strips)
olive oil, first cold pressed if you have it
1. To prepare the yellow pepper, place it on the grill and allow to cook, turning often until black and blistered. Put the grilled pepper into a small bowl and immediately cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes. When the pepper has cooled enough to handle, the blistered skin should slip right off. Do not rinse the pepper, as it will remove all the yummy grilled goodness! This can also be done under the broiler in your oven. When cooled, slice into thick strips.
2. Pour the vinegar into a small saucepan and let simmer under low heat until reduced to a thick, syrupy state. Swirl the pan often to avoid burning. This usually takes about 10 minutes. Allow to cool. If you thicken it too much, just add a little water or vinegar until its the texture of syrup. Warning… it stinks! Really bad. If you have guests coming over, do this well in advance and store in the fridge.
3. Slice the tomatoes and the cheese, and sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Arrange on a plate with the peppers and basil, and drizzle with the balsamic reduction and olive oil. Sprinkle again with salt and pepper.
Note: I use yellow peppers for nice contrast on the plate, but you can use green peppers, or omit altogether.
Makes 2 Servings