Thursday, December 15, 2011

FUN Caprese Salad!

Okay, I've had enough of Christmas treats...I need something healthy!!
While I love to cook, I do have one must be simple! I get impatient if a recipe is too lengthy or confusing.

Caprese Salad is always good, but this is a fun way to jazz it up a little. Anyone can make a fabulous Caprese Salad whether they consider themselves a great cook or not!

A fanned Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella, Fresh Basil, Olive Oil and S & P. So easy, so good! I originally saw this idea on The Party Dress. I'll include variations that we like as well.

What you need:
Tomatoes (one for each person)
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
Fresh Basil Leaves
Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar
S & P

How to do it:
Set the Tomato on it's side and cut slices about 1/4 inch apart, being careful not to cut all the way through. You can use any type of Tomato and any size. Just to prove it, I used Roma Tomatoes here.
Cut thin slices of Fresh Mozzarella Cheese. Put a fresh Basil leaf and a slice of Mozzarella together and slide into the cuts. When using smaller tomatoes like Roma, I use smaller Basil leaves or break large ones in half. It is easiest to slide them in together.
Sprinkle on a little Sea Salt and top with a couple grinds of Fresh Black Pepper.
These can be prepared ahead of time. When serving, drizzle a little Olive Oil & Balsamic over them.

Variations: My family loved them with a little Olive Garden Salad Dressing Knock Off drizzled, instead of Olive Oil.

Warm Variation: We also enjoyed them warm (and a little melty). Stuff the cut tomato with cheese ONLY, and put in a 350* oven for about 10 minutes. Watch it closely and take out as the tomato gets warm and the cheese is melty (not sure that's a word, but it works for me). After removing from oven, stick the Fresh Basil Leaves in with the melty cheese. Drizzle a little Olive Oil & Balsamic or Olive Garden Dressing over it and serve.

NOTE: If you put the Fresh Basil in the oven it will get black and wilty and does not look (or taste) very good). Adding it after melting retains the Fresh Basil flavor.

Here's another variation of Warm Caprese Salad.

Super fast, super easy salad to serve with any meal. Enjoy!

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