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Here in California the weather is still really warm. Ok, it’s hot!!! We’re supposed to hit 101 degrees this weekend! On these kind of days, you just don’t feel like heating up the kitchen with a lot of cooking and a light meal sounds wonderful. I know the Caprese Salad is nothing new, but I’m not ashamed to admit it was new to me. I’ve seen them on TV, I’ve been with people that have ordered them in restaurants, but I’ve never had one myself. I had purchased some expensive motzarella for another dish and didn’t make it. I didn’t want it to go to waste, so I decided to use it to make a Caprese salad. It did not disappoint!!! This dish is stunning and delicious! It’s great for a quick, light dinner or elegant enough for an appetizer to serve to guests.

This salad is REALLY simple!!! Simple is great, but when a dish is this simple it is critical to use excellent ingredients. I had the expensive motzarella; check! I grow my own fresh basil; check! I bought some beautiful, organic heirloom tomatoes at the store; check! Now I wanted to make a balsamic reduction to top off this dish. I’ve got this!!!

Caprese Salad

Motzarella cheese, slides (Invest in some good cheese!)

Tomatoes, sliced (Go big on the investment here too! Hot house tomatoes have very little flavor. Get your hands on some homegrown or heirloom tomatoes!)

Fresh basil leaves

Salt and pepper

1 cup Balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup Honey

The only cooking involved: Whisk together vinegar and honey in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes or until reduced to about 1/2 cup.

Arrange cheese, tomatoes, and basil in alternate layers on plates or a large platter, drizzle with balsamic reduction and then lightly season with salt and pepper.

Mangia bene!!!