Friday, August 03, 2012

Guest Post by Amy - Caprese Salad

Guest posting today is my lovely sister Amy.  She introduced herself a few weeks back in another guest post where she featured her Carbonera recipe, and this time I asked her to give us a summer recipe.

Hello again! It’s Amy, Minivan’s sister. Today you get two recipes for the price of one!
There’s something to be said about a salad - colourful, beautiful and so satisfying on a hot summer’s day. I love that you can make a salad anything you want, the combinations are almost infinite!

One of my favorite salads is a caprese; tomato, mozzarella, basil, oil and vinegar.  Even with the simple caprese, you can make it a wow dish with little effort.
I make this salad a lot especially now that there are tons of amazing tomatoes at the farmer’s markets.

To make my salad a bit better I use a balsamic glaze. Balsamic glaze is reduced balsamic; by reducing it you take away the harshness of the vinegar and bring out the sweetness. The glaze will coat the salad more uniformly and give it an even dress. Reducing your own balsamic can be time consuming and costly so I always buy mine to ensure consistency.

Simple Caprese Salad
8-10 medium sized tomatoes
400 grams buffalo mozzarella cheese*
¼ cup basil; julienned
1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons
Balsamic Glaze
Salt & pepper

Cut tomatoes and cheese into similar sizes; arrange on plate.  Drizzle with oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with basil, salt and pepper to taste.
*Buffalo Mozzarella isn’t cheap but it is so good! Try regular fresh mozzarella to save some money.

Did you over-buy at the farmer’s Market? Try variations of the salad.
·         Use roasted tomatoes
·         Finish the salad with a little lemon zest
·         Using truffle oil instead of olive oil
·         Adding a bit of crunch with roasted walnuts
·         Use pesto
·         Use your imagination!

Are you hosting a cocktail party or going to a potluck soon? Try these Caprese skewers. These are always a hit at my parties! I make tons because they are always the first dish to be cleaned out and I also use a white balsamic so there are no embarrassing balsamic messes.

Caprese Skewers
30 grape tomatoes
30 mini bocconcini balls, patted dry with a paper towel

15 slices of Prosciutto; cut in half & folded
30 basil leaves
White pepper
White balsamic glaze

Using small bamboo skewers or toothpicks, first place a grape tomato, then a large basil leaf, a slice of prosciutto followed by a bocconcini ball. Continue these steps until you have the amount of skewers you want. Arrange them on a platter and sprinkle with a bit of white pepper, when you are ready to serve drizzle with the White Balsamic Glaze. Remember to drizzle right before serving so that your basil leaves don't wilt.

I am giving away a gift basket full of food, some of which are pictured below when I reach 100 Facebook likes and 100 Twitter followers.

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