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The traditional Italian caprese salad (pronounced “kuh·prei·zei”) is named after Capri’s island, where it is believed to have originated. Classy in its simplicity, this salad is just tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and olive oil. Mozzarella hearts made with a heart-shaped cookie cutter adds a whimsical touch for a romantic dinner or an encouragement to get kids to eat some salad. The addition of the homemade balsamic glaze takes this salad to the WOW level.
Homemade Balsamic Glaze sounds fancy. Sounds complicated. Sounds stressful! Guess what? It’s NOT! What it is, however, is quite impressive. Balsamic glaze is a scrumptious, glossy, dark brown syrup with an intense flavor. East to make, it has just two ingredients, balsamic vinegar and a sweetener. My preference is honey, but maple syrup or brown sugar work equally well. In only 15 minutes, the vinegar is transformed into a delicious concoction of sweet and tangy. If you would prefer not to add sugar, you can forego the sweetener and simply cook down the vinegar on its own. (This works best with high-quality balsamic vinegar). Leftover glaze can be stored in the refrigerator for months. Balsamic glaze adds a great flavor to grilled vegetables, chicken, pork, steak, or salmon; summer berries; thin-crust pizza; even vanilla ice cream. It’s also the perfect addition to a cheese plate. The glaze recipe can be easily doubled.
Cupid’s Caprese Salad with Balsamic GlazeCourse: Appetizers, SidesCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy
Caprese Salad is a simple salad of fresh mozzarella and tomatoes topped with basil drizzled with homemade balsamic vinegar. The fresh mozzarella is cut in heart shapes with a cookie cutter making this the perfect starter for a romantic meal.
- Stir balsamic vinegar and honey together in a small saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low. Simmer until the vinegar mixture has reduced by half, about 15 minutes (it should coat the back of a spoon).
- Remove from the heat and allow it to cool. Pour it into a glass bottle. Store unused syrup in refrigerator.
- Cut tomatoes in 1/4-inch thick slices
- Slice fresh mozzarella into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and use a cookie cutter to cut out heart shapes
- Chiffonade the basil (Stack the leaves on top of each other, gently roll them into a cigar, using a sharp knife slice into thin ribbons.)
- Arrange the tomato slices on a platter, season with salt and pepper. Place mozzarella hearts on top of tomatoes. Top with basil ribbons
- Drizzle the olive oil and balsamic glaze over the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil.
- Mozzarella slices best when cold, right from the fridge, use with a sharp knife or dental floss
- I use honey for the sweetener. Maple syrup or brown sugar can also be used. If you are using a good quality balsamic vinegar, you can reduce it down without adding any sweetener.
- Spray measuring cup with non-stick spray before adding the honey. Honey will easily slide out of the measuring cup with no sticky mess
- To chiffonade the basil, simply stack the basil leaves, roll up, and thinly slice to form ribbons. If you prefer, you can use whole basil leaves instead of the chiffonade.
- Store unused glaze in the refrigerator to use with grilled vegetables, chicken, pork, steak, or salmon; summer berries; thin-crust pizza; cheese plates; even vanilla ice cream.
- Avocado slices go nicely with this salad