Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad

Are you itching for summer to start? I know I am! Last weekend we had some beautiful sunny weather, but the temperature is just not up to summer standards yet. And as a result, the local produce is still very much spring-oriented-- and really it will for another month or so. I remember last year I kept waiting for the farmers markets to have berries, tomatoes, and other warm weather produce, and I also remember that it felt like summer was halfway over before this type of quintessential summer produce finally made its debut!

At this point I really want to start making summer dishes like caprese salad, but I know the tomatoes I buy will not be up to par. But the Barefoot Contessa gave a great suggestion in her Back to Basics cookbook that came out at the end of last year, when she offered up the suggestion to roast tomatoes in the oven to make a variation of caprese salad. There is still the issue of the negative effects on the environment when you buy food from far off lands, but we can't be perfect all the time, right? I do my part to eat local and reduce my waste and meat consumption, but sometimes you just have a craving that you can't get around! Now that I have had this roasted tomato version, I can probably resist buying more tomatoes until they start growing a little closer to home.

Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad
from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, by Ina Garten


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


Joelen said...

I love that you roasted your tomatoes for the salad! I wonder if it has a nice smoky rich taste... mmm!

Chris said...

I seriously think this is the only way to make caprese salad at any time of the year other than the height of tomato season - it's so good!

I added you to my reader too. Great meeting you last night! Hope to see you again soon.

Anonymous said...

I love caprese salad! Roasting the tomatoes must add a ton of flavor!

Sarah said...

Sometimes it is just so hard to wait on the season to come around for certain foods. I'm trying to be better about it, but sometimes the craving just overwhelms me.
This really is a great idea for when those tomatoes aren't garden fresh.
Once we get some fresh tomatoes around here I'm going to try my hand at making some homemade mozzarella cheese for my caprese salad!

Darius T. Williams said...

What's so funny is this: Why did I rush over to Pete's Market to pick up Roma tomatoes and did some roasting RIGHT after this episode aired - lol. Hilarious.