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I couldn’t let another week go without offering our readers a Green Monday menu suggestion. Housemate (and the true chef under our roof) Eric, nicked this yummy and hearty salad recipe from the Food Network site after a viewing of The Barefoot Contessa.
Host Ina Garten suggested this fabulous salad for fall tomatoes. Summer, which just passed us by, produces the best tomatoes, but you don’t have to be stuck with tasteless food. Roasting the tomatoes brings out a sweet, rich, caramelized taste (reminiscent to me of sun-dried tomatoes) that meshes well with the creamy mozzarella and fresh basil.
Check out Eric’s lovely presentation of the Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad in the above photo – mmm. Good enough to impress Ina herself, no? I can tell you that this salad tasted even better then it looks. It’s just right for a fall evening – not too light, not too heavy and all yummy.
• 12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeds (not cores) removed
• 1/4 cup good olive oil, plus more for drizzling
• 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 2 large garlic cloves, minced
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 16 ounces fresh salted mozzarella
• 12 fresh basil leaves, julienned
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with the garlic, sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 2 hours until the tomatoes are concentrated and begin to caramelize. Allow the tomatoes to cool to room temperature.
Cut the mozzarella into slices slightly less than 1/2-inch thick. If the slices of mozzarella are larger than the tomatoes, cut the mozzarella slices in half. Layer the tomatoes alternately with the mozzarella on a platter and scatter the basil on top. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Serve at room temperature.
Tip: A high quality sea salt (we used our trusty xroads Philippine Sea Salt) really brings out the taste of the mozzarella and fresh herbs. We sprinkled some liberally over the finished product, waited with bated breath for five minutes and then dug in!