Juicy tomato, cold, crunchy Romaine lettuce, sweet basil, creamy mozzarella and the tang of a Balsamic vinegar reduction…..delicious! Sure, a caprese salad won’t do for a full family meal but for a decadent lunch or as a side salad with dinner, this dish is packed with flavor and texture and other good-for-you-things! I really was having a craving for fresh basil a while back. I wanted it in any food I ordered out, I wanted it in food I made at home and I thought that not only did this salad sound like a nice change in our vegetable routine, but it calls for fresh, raw basil. In my opinion, this is the type of dish that the quality of your ingredients really can make or break it. Being mostly uncooked, if your tomato flavor is flat or the mozzarella isn’t quite the right texture, the whole thing falls apart. My advice, and the reason I call it decadent is because I pull out the good stuff for this one. I am using my “good” olive oil, the oil I save for special dishes where the flavor of the oil will really be apparent. I selected the tomato carefully and bought a type that not only looked nice but has a good flavor. In this case, regardless of what you feel about organic products, here organic usually IS better. Interesting aside – in the race to produce more, larger, and more bug-resistant tomatoes, they have bred the flavor OUT of most commercially grown tomatoes. The farms get more per plant and a more even growth rate but they aren’t taking into account how those tomatoes taste. Some growers are taking that problem back to the root of things and are breeding the flavor back into their crops but right now, it seems UF (go Gators!) and Publix (go Lakeland!) have the market cornered. Here is an article on UF’s new breed of tomato, only available at Publix supermarkets right now. So I picked out a few nice tomatoes, bought the fancy, fresh mozzarella and made sure the basil was not spotted or dried up at the corners. Then I bought a good balsamic vinegar (raspberry flavored at that) to reduce. The rest of this salad is simple, you’ve got the main part done before you get home!
- Fresh, firm, tasty tomatoes, 1/2 – 1 medium tomato per salad
- Fresh crispy romaine lettuce
- Fresh Mozzarella
- Fresh Basil
- Good olive oil
- Good Balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup for 2 salads
- salt and pepper to taste
Chop up, wash and pat dry the Romaine, toss in a little olive oil and salt/pepper to taste and split among the plates. Wash and slice the tomato and place them neatly on top of the lettuce. Slice up the mozzarella and finely chop the basil; put those ingredients on the salad. Lastly, reduce the vinegar by putting a small amount in a sauce pan on high. The vinegar will boil quickly and reduce even more quickly so don’t walk away! Once boiling, durn the heat down and allow to reduce for a couple of minutes. What you want here is a thicker, more syrupy consistency to the vinegar so swirling the pan will give you an idea. When ready, drizzle over the salad and enjoy.
100% Dukan Diet Worthy Stage 3 or higher.