I love having the opportunity to cook with friends because it makes fun times, adventures, and tales to tell. Not to mention great food!
Just yesterday, three of my friends and I had the first of our planned monthly cooking nights. We had plans to make sponge cake, grilled chicken, ravioli, etc. However, our plans were thrown a curveball when the power in our neighborhood went out. However, we were able to pull off variations of those dishes utilizing a firepit, some bricks, and a lot of flashlights.
This dish was the appetizer to our adventurous meal. It's a unique spin on one of my favorite salads: Salad Caprese. Normally just fresh basil, ripe tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella, this one utilized oven-dried tomatoes instead to add some savory and extra sweet notes. Combined with the flavors of a true Modena balsamic imported from Italy, this appetizer was an amazing treat!
Recipe serves 4 people.
3 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to season
12 fresh basil leaves
12 ounces fresh mozzarella (We used small ciliegni balls for ours, but slices work as well!)
Balsamic vinegar to garnish
1. Layer the tomatoes on a baking tray and preheat the oven to 150 degrees F.
2. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil, then season well on both sides.
3. Bake in the oven for 4 hours. Let cool, then plate.
4. Plating can be done however you like. Here is how we did it: The tomato rounds went on the bottom. The basil leaves then rested on top of the tomato, with the mozzarella resting inside of the basil leaves.
5. Drizzle the plate with balsamic vinegar, then serve!
This dish is super simple, but very elegant and complex. It really is the simplicity that makes it so great, because each element gets a chance to shine through in each bite - the fresh creamy mozzarella, the sweet yet savory tomato, the bite of the balsamic, and the fresh aromatic notes of the basil all combine to make a great mouthful to cherish!
I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know what you think and what you would change. If you make it at home, let me know how it turns out! Enjoy! =)