Caprese is possibly one of the best little things you can throw together in five minutes or less that tastes spectacular and is a feast for the eyes. The key to a good caprese is quality, fresh ingredients. Don’t go cheap on the mozz and use the freshest tomatoes you can. And make sure your extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar are up to par.
I just adore green tomatoes and the market just happens to provide me plump and delicious ones in the late spring/early summer. I get bored easily so I couldn’t bring myself to make the typical fried green tomatoes. I had a vague recollection of seeing a green tomato caprese in some food magazine and decided it would make for the perfect light lunch. My tomatoes were from Johns Island and the mozzarella from the Charleston Artisan Cheese House.
Here’s the recipe:
2 large green tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1/2 c olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 T brown sugar
About 1 lb fresh mozzarella (keep refrigerated until ready to slice)
Whole basil leaves (large)
Sea salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1. In a bowl combine olive oil, balsamic, brown sugar, garlic, salt and pepper.
2. Add sliced tomatoes and make sure all are thoroughly covered by the vinaigrette. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.
4. Remove basil leaves from stalks and rinse.
5. Remove tomatoes from refrigerator and grill tomatoes for three minutes on each side. (If a grill is not available, feel free to use a pan for the same amount of time.)
6. Slice mozzarella.
7. On a serving dish, evenly arrange the warm tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, removing the tomatoes from the bowl one at a time. Tomato, mozz, basil.
8. Drizzle with some of the remaining vinaigrette.
9. Serve immediately. Great served with sliced French bread.
(Note: I had to cheat and use tubed basil because I ran out of fresh leaves. However, it is best when made with whole basil leaves.)