When my husband was in Italy many years ago he fell in love...no, not with me (ha ha) but with the Caprese salad that seemed to be on every menu almost everywhere we ate. Could I blame him? What was not to love? A plate of perfectly ripe, almost sweet, sliced tomatoes, layered with creamy (often homemade) mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar combined with perpetually sunny skies, the gorgeous blue of the Mediterranean and the promise of gelato, sometimes twice a day! It was some trip!! So it's especially ironic that I made this very summery feeling dish on one of the stormiest days of the winter we've been slogging through. I think I was trying to channel all that Italian warmth!! In any case, it's a truly wonderful and easy dish that makes great use of the winter-friendly and kind of adorable cherry tomato and lets you enjoy a Caprese-like salad even in the off-season!
Roasted tomatoes are great. So juicy and tangy! And little cherry tomatoes are particularly good for winter roasting because you can generally find good ones all year long, unlike some of the tomato varieties. They're super simple to make too. All you do is toss them with some oil, garlic and salt, spread them out on a baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes, until they caramelize and start to burst open, releasing that sweet and zesty juice! YUM!
The rest of the salad is nothing more than tearing apart a ball of mozzarella and drizzling the warm tomato mixture on top of it, followed by a splash or two of good balsamic vinegar. The flavor combinations of the mozzarella, tomatoes, garlic and balsamic just can't be beat!!
It's great on it's own or on top of a piece of crusty, toasted bread!!
My husband gobbled this up and and hopefully I'm a close second to his beloved Caprese salad!!
Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad
Makes 4 servings
Prep Time for Tomatoes: 45 minutes and then a just few more minutes to arrange the plate
- 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella at room temperature, torn into large pieces
- Good quality balsamic vinegar for drizzling on at end
- Crusty fresh or toasted bread for serving (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place tomatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet and toss with garlic, oil and a pinch or two of the salt. Spread mixture out into an even layer and roast in oven for about 45 minutes, until tomatoes are lightly browned and starting to burst open. Let cool to just warm.
2. Place mozzarella on a platter and spoon warm tomato mixture over it, including the juices. Sprinkle with more salt if you like and finish with a drizzle of the balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately as is or with a piece of good crusty or toasted bread for soaking up all the delicious juices.
Note: Recipe adapted from a November 2017 issue of Bob Appetit Magazine. I left out the fresh thyme and added the balsamic vinegar. This would be good with some fresh basil too and I would have added it but when I made this we had just lost power and the stores were all out of fresh basil. Next time!!