Heirloom Tomato Caprese

Ingredients

For the balsamic vinaigrette

  • 1 Cup  balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon  Dijon mustard
  • 1 Teaspoon  minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 Cup  canola oil
  • 1/2 Cup  olive oil
  •    Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

For the salad

  • 2 Pounds  ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons  chopped red onion
  • 1 Pound  fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  •   bunch basil, chopped coarsely
  •    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  •    Crusty bread, for serving
  •    Basil pesto, for serving

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by Josh Kroner

A Caprese salad is usually sliced tomatoes alternated with sliced mozzarella and basil leaves with olive oil and balsamic vinegar drizzled on top. It is really more of an antipasto than a traditional salad. This version takes it back into the salad world and it becomes a great dish to serve at any summer event, from a barbecue to a formal dinner.

The key to a great Caprese is great ingredients; since there are only a few, you need to make sure they really shine. Tomatoes have a wide range of quality going from tasteless to mind-blowing. Though recent advances in winter greenhouse tomatoes have dramatically increased the quality of off-season tomatoes, there is nothing like an in-season ripe local tomato.

Heirloom tomatoes tend to bruise more easily than regular tomatoes, but they have better flavor. The best way to tell is with your nose. This is true for basil and most other fruits and vegetables as well: how it smells is how it will taste.

Click here to see 15 Tastiest Heirloom Tomato Recipes.

Directions

For the balsamic vinaigrette

Combine the vinegar, mustard, and garlic in a bowl and whisk well. While still whisking, add the oil in a thin stream. (This can also be done in a blender.) Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

For the salad

In a large salad bowl, mix together the tomatoes, onion, mozzarella, and basil. Drain the liquid released by the tomatoes and toss with ¼-½ cup of the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with crusty bread and basil pesto, if desired.

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