It just wouldn't be summer on the blog without at least one new incarnation of caprese salad. I just love it so much and can't stop looking for new ways to play with juicy summer tomatoes, creamy, fresh mozzarella, and my most favorite herb, basil. To me, they are a perfect combination.
This version of my beloved caprese calls for slow roasting grape and cherry tomatoes. They're wonderfully sweet on their own, but roasting them concentrates that sweetness for the most incredible punch of summery flavor. I almost didn't have a caprese salad because I could hardly control myself from scarfing down the tomatoes straight from the oven! They were, of course, outstanding in this salad, but they were also fantastic on top of toast and along with some pesto and cheese in an omelette. I can say I'll definitely be making a batch of them each week until tomato season is over.
Slow-Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad
adapted from Eat.Repeat
3 c. red and/or yellow cherry or grape tomatoes
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 head garlic, papery skin removed and cloves separated, but not peeled
1 c. balsamic vinegar
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut or torn into 1/2-in. pieces
5-6 large leaves fresh basil, chiffonade
crusty bread, for serving
1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
2. Halve the tomatoes and toss with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange the tomatoes, cut side up, on the baking sheet along with the garlic cloves. Place baking sheet in the oven and roast for 3 hours, until the edges of the tomatoes are wrinkled, but the insides are still slightly juicy.
3. About 30 minutes before the tomatoes are done, heat the vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a low boil and reduce by half until thick and glossy, about 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, grill or toast slices of bread. Squeeze garlic from the skins. Using the side of a large knife blade, mash into a paste and spread over bread.
5. Toss tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil in a large bowl. Drizzle balsamic over the top or serve alongside the salad with the garlic bread.
Yields: 3-4 lunch servings