Saturday, June 16, 2012

CapreseSalad with Balsamic Reduction and Basil Oil


While I'm on my short blogging break taking advantage of all of the summer activities we have scheduled, destination weddings, hosting a shower for the aforementioned, my busier work schedule, the garden, golfing with hubby, etc., etc., I've decided it would be a great time to get my blog organized.  Early in my blogging days, I would occasionally group several recipes together in one post (which makes some recipes difficult or impossible to find - even for me!).


The one I wanted to bring out of hiding first is this Caprese salad that I first wrote about in the summer of 2009.  It is one of my favorite summer salads and one I'm planning on using for our upcoming summer Gourmet Group that we will be hosting at the end of this month.  The reason this Caprese stands out from the rest is the delicious balsamic-red wine reduction and basil-infused oil. The color of the basil-infused oil is the most beautiful shade of green!


My tomato plants are growing like crazy in the warm weather we've been having and I can't wait to eat the first freshly-picked tomatoes.  One of summer's delicious treats.  Pass the pepper!

Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction and Basil Oil
Adapted from Chef Roy Harland, Fresno California
Printable Recipe

Note:  Sadly, the link to this recipe, which appeared in a Fresno, California news website, no longer exists.  

Serves 4

2 lbs Heirloom or Stem-On Tomatoes
8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
About 12 basil leaves
Basil oil (recipe follows)
Balsamic vinegar reduction (recipe follows)
A nice sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Balsamic Vinegar Reduction (I halved this for 2 and it still made more than enough):

1 cup Balsamic vinegar
1 cup dry red wine - I used a Syrah
1/4 cup Sherry Vinegar (my personal addition)
1 T brown sugar

Basil Oil:

1 large bunch fresh basil
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. salt

Rinse tomatoes, cores and slice. Cut each mozzarella ball into slices.

Arrange tomatoes & cheese decoratively on four salad plates. Tuck in several basil leaves.

Drizzle each salad with about 1-2 tablespoons of the vinegar reduction & basil oil.

Season with good salt and freshly ground pepper.

Balsamic Vinegar Reduction Instructions:

Heat the ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium heat. When mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat and bring to a simmer. Cook until syrupy, but do not allow to caramelize. Mixture should yield about ¼ cup. It should coat the back of the spoon when it is done.

Basil Oil Instructions:

1 large bunch fresh basil
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. salt

In a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, bring four cups lightly salted water to boil. Have another bowl filled with ice water close by.

Remove basil leaves, discarding stems. Place basil leaves into the boiling water and cook for 10 seconds. Remove basil with a slotted spoon and place immediately into the ice bath. Drain basil and squeeze out excess water. Roll basil in paper towels and squeeze to dry. Repeat with more paper towels, if necessary.

Place the basil and olive oil in a blender and blend for one full minute on high speed. Strain the oil through a strainer with cheese cloth. The oil should be very clear and bright green.


56 comments:

  1. that looks so delicious! i love that flavor combo! mmmm...and beautiful plates!

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  2. I'm really glad you got that one out of hiding, it looks fantastic! Definitely trying this one very soon.

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  3. I love caprese salad, I could eat this every day IF I could (which I can't!). Salad looks gorgeous and so is the presentation. xo

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  4. looks so tasty and delicious Susan, I love caprese salad,mozzarella cheese is good but Mozzarella di bufala is the best, try to find ,you'll love it!have a good sunday, a warm hug...

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  5. Gorgeous colors! I can't wait for local tomatoes! Love your pics-Happy Summer:@)

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  6. I adore a caprese salad. I have given up cheese. It has always been my one weakness. I may have to splurge a little...moderation is the key. Wouldn't this be great on a sliced baguette as an open faced sandwich? I've given up bread as well, but yum! It is so nice to see your return. Bonnie

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  7. Oh Yum!! Have not had a caprese salad in a while - need to add a few things to grocery list.
    You have been a very busy lady ! Take care.

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  8. Sounds like a wonderful summer! Enjoy!

    Caprese salad is my favorite summer salad!!

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  9. This is a beautiful and refreshing salad I enjoy all the time. I guess simplicity is the key. Wow, I love that your summer is packed with fun activities! Have a wonderful summer break!

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  10. Always a summer favorite! Looks delicious!

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  11. wonderful and enjoy your summer, fresh tomatoes are heavenly

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  12. wonderful and enjoy your summer, fresh tomatoes are heavenly

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  13. I love this salad! Yum! To make soon when our basil plants and tomatoes get ripe; they are not up yet!

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  14. This salad looks super perfect my friend - could there possibly be a better summer? :D

    Cheers
    CCU

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  15. Summer on a plate!! We just picked our first heirloom tomato this week and we have a bumper crop of basil so I'll have to try your balsamic reduction! I love the delicious color of the basil infused oil! Enjoy your summer :)

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  16. This recipes combines everything that I love and adore!

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  17. Balsamic vinegar and basil oil, now you're talking my language. No wonder you love this salad. It could easily become one of my favorites too.
    Sam

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  18. You're right, absolutely gorgeous. I am in awe you are organizing your blog. I too have posts that have multiples on them and really good dishes get lost in the shuffle... many because the picture didn't come up to snuff. Can't see how this recipe could, just brilliant and will be a hit at a gourmet group for sure. Cool to add wine and balsamic.

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  19. Bonjour!

    I agree w/ D.. organizing mu blog sounds like organizing my recipe binders:(Good for you and us!

    Glad you are enjoying summer..les boys..etc

    I love this particular salad..Miss your posts:)

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  20. That creates the most beautiful salad no matter the taste, though I'm sure that it tastes wonderful!

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  21. I'm so glad that you brought the recipe out of hiding as it was before I starting blogging. I especially like the recipe for the balsamic reduction. By adding other ingredients to the balsamic, I'm sure it increases the flavor of the reduction. Thanks so much for taking time out of your summer holiday to share.

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  22. Beautiful! This is one of my favorite salads and to me it just screams Summer. Really nice photos. Those white plates are perfect to showcase this.

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  23. You have all the elements of food I love... infused basil oil, balsamic wine reduction!!!!! Fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella! I could lick the computer screen! Thank you for reposting this fabulous recipe! I did not see it before.
    Please share this recipe with us at ON THE MENU MONDAY, my weekly recipe and menu meme. Post goes live at 8:00 tonight. I can just hear all the ohhs and aahhs!

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  24. One of my favorite ways to enjoy the summer produce!

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  25. Looks delicious! I know my men would love it!

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  26. I am like you, I can't wait for the first tomatoes. I love the basil oil. I actually had my first one the other day because I kept that plant in the house. I finally put it outside and it is not liking the sun, but it was worth it to have the first tomato in the first week of June.

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  27. Nothing screams summer like a caprese salad! It's one of my favorites.

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  28. The flavors in this wonderful salad must be amazing, Susan. It won't be too long before we have luscious heirloom tomatoes that will be perfect prepared this way. It's fun to bring back some of our favorite recipes from early blogging days.

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  29. It's a beautiful salad....any time of the year, but so much better with fresh off the vine tomatoes.

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  30. This is my summer go to meal. MMM

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  31. Indeed Caprese salad is a must eat, summer salad! A beautiful choice for a light summer meal!

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  32. This is one of my favorite salads, your presentation is just beautiful too! We won't be seeing veggies for at least a month in New England! It's strawberry season right now!

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  33. That is a great idea. I also lumped many recipes together when I first began blogging and so glad you decided to showcase this lovely salad again, thanks! lovely pics!

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  34. It is on my list to make a balsamic reduction! I've heard from a few people that the reduction can sometimes beat the flavors of a fine well-aged balsamic vinegar. I'd love to find out. This is the perfect recipe for summer meals!

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  35. I love a caprese salad, packed with flavor and so colorful. I. Like your version of balsamic reduction. I will definitely try this.

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  36. Lovely,delicious and simple!What's more to ask?
    Have a lovely day,dear!

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  37. Makes my mouth water just to look at this gorgeous salad. So pretty :)

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  38. What a beautiful salad, Susan. I'm so glad you are enjoying the summer and getting your blog organized. I'm working on mine. How did you get your blog roll page to update. Mine is not, but I'll keep working.

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  39. Oh Susan, your caprese salad looks great with the basil oil and the balsamic vinegar reduction...like your presentation, so refreshing and summery.
    Hope you are enjoying your week :)

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  40. Looks like summer to me! Beautiful and I'm sure it's delicious!

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  41. This is one of my favorite salad for summer. Light and healthy. I will try your balsamic reduction....Your presentation is lovely.

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  42. Summer time is caprese salad time! Beautiful salad, I'm glad you devoted a post to one of my favorite salads;-)

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  43. Oh fantastic take on a classic caprese. That basil oil is so vibrant against the red of the tomatoes.

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  44. Susan -- this looks heavenly and I agree about tomatoes being summer's delicious treat -- my plants are growing like crazy -- my basil too. I am looking forward to trying your dressing. Enjoy all your summer activities and return to blogging soon :)

    Blessings!
    Gail

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  45. Enjoy your time off! I will write this down for next get together. I always tasted others' balsamic reductions and they pair up well with Caprese salad. Would be a good one for July 4th get together.

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  46. I always look forward to "fresh tomato from the garden" time to make a caprese salad, Susan! I love the balsamic and basil oil recipes you sharedin this post!

    Enjoy all your happy summer occasions!

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  47. I wonder why I didn't receive this update.
    The caprese salad looks so fresh and delicious with your garden tomatoes. This year my tomato plants have produced so far just flowers ;-((

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  48. for me this is the best salad and it is really easy to do, yours looks delicious

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  49. A lovely plate of salad! The balsamic reduction dressing does sound really good and a perfect match with the lovely basil oil. I would really enjoy this plate of salad!

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  50. Caprese salad is the best part of summer picnics! I love this version with a sweet balsamic and bright basil oil.

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  51. Thanks so much, everyone! Our gourmet gathering is tonight and I can't wait to enjoy this salad again ;)

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  52. Just mouthwatering...would love to have some!

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  53. Love caprese salad, perfect for hot summer days.

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  54. classic dish! simple but always impressive :)

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  55. It doesn't get any better than this!
    Caprese in the summer... perfetto.

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  56. This plate sings summer! One of my favorite salads. I love the freshness.. so refreshing!
    malou

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