A Caprese salad is a sexy side dish. Let’s just get that out of the way because it is so beautiful and every time that I serve it, our guests' eyes just light up. So if you want my Caprese salad recipe, you are in the right place.
How to make a Caprese Salad for those that are in a hurry. Slice a tomato into ¼” chunks. Layer a thick slice of mozzarella cheese on top of that. Then place single fresh basil leave on top of it. Then drizzle with a balsamic glaze reduction and olive oil. Finish it off with a dash of salt and pepper.
It is hard to beat such a classic dish as this one but there are ways to tweak it and make it even better. I made this recipe for dinner the other night. Yes, that was our entire dinner but to be fair I did make a full plate of it. Andi was over the moon because she found the balsamic reduction just made the dish so much better.
About the ingredients
We always use a large mozzarella ball for this. We don’t use slices from the grocery deli or anything else. These fresh mozzarella balls really make the dish so much better. They are a bit awkward to cut though, so keep that in mind. When I am slicing them it really feels like I am smashing them into submission with my knife.
About the basil
Fresh basil smells incredible. When I opened the container for the fresh basil the scent just wafted through the entire house. We have made Caprese salad with dried basil in the past when we couldn’t get our hands on the fresh stuff. The salad tasted perfectly fine with dried basil but the presentation factor was not there. So if you are throwing a dinner party, I highly recommend sourcing some fresh basic.
About the tomato
The better quality the tomato the better the dish. If you can get your hands on an heirloom tomato, I highly recommend it. For this round, I used on the vine tomatoes from the grocery store. These have a nice rich flavor and I love cooking with them.
- 4 large ripe tomatoes
- 1 large mozzarella ball
- 1 bunch of fresh rosemary
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ c. balsamic vinegar
- ¼ T sea salt
- ¼ T black pepper
Make the balsamic glaze
- Add the balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
- Allow it to boil for 30 seconds.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to simmer until the liquid reduces to about a ⅓ of its original volume. This should take about 5 minutes.
- Remove balsamic glaze from heat and allow it to cool.
Prepare the tomato, mozzarella and basil
- Wash the tomatoes and fresh rosemary. Use a paper towel and dry the items completely.
- Slice the stems off of the tomato on each end.
- Slice the tomatoes into ¼” thick slices.
- Slice the mozzarella into ¼” thick slices.
- Cut the basil leaves off of the stem.
Create the Caprese Salad
- Place the tomato slices flat on a serving plate.
- Layer the mozzarella slices on top of the tomatoes.
- Add a fresh whole basil leaf on next.
- Drizzle the olive oil on top next.
- Drizzle the balsamic vinegar reduction on top of the salad.
- Finish the dish by adding a dash of salt and pepper.
As we were reviewing this Caprese salad recipe this morning, Andi reminded me that she had the leftovers for lunch the next day. The balsamic reduction process made this recipe so much better. Previously, we would just pour balsamic vinegar over the top of our salad and that was plenty tasty. However, if you have the time, I highly recommend creating a reduction.