Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

Caprese salad is my number one favorite salad!  OK, let’s be honest..it’s the only salad I will go anywhere near.  Caprese is a simple, flavorful, refreshing summertime dish.  It is featured on lots of Italian restaurant menus; the classic combination of tomato, basil, and mozzarella cheese is hard to beat.

Can I be honest for a second?  I hate tomatoes….but I do really love caprese salad.  How weird am I?  I LOVE very smooth tomato sauce, but I don’t like the texture and taste of tomatoes when they are cooked and in “chunk” form.  They make me shudder.  I often embarrass my husband and family in public when I continually ask servers at various restaurants whether their red sauce is “chunky” or not before I will proceed to order it.  What am I, five years old?!  My taste buds definitely are and this is apparent if you are a regular reader of my blog. I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but this goes way back to my childhood when my mom had to stand there in the kitchen on spaghetti nights and strain my sauce in a sifter to get every last tomato and onion chunk out so that I would go within 5 feet of it.  Now that’ s a dedicated mother!  Or a ridiculous daughter…one or the other.

Normally, I just completely avoid red sauce altogether when I’m out to dinner.   I don’t prefer to live life on the edge, after all….and having a plate of pasta with chunky red sauce unexpectedly placed in front of me at a restaurant is a little too risky for me.  I did, however, just read an interesting article about taste psychology and why people are so picky regarding certain foods along with explanations as to why this is.  I’ve been telling my husband for years that my not liking tomatoes was a texture thing.  He always thought I was crazy.  Now I know I’m not.  At least that’s what I’m telling myself.  Holler at me if you are also weird about food texture so I know I’m not alone in the world :)

I feel bad I just picked on poor tomatoes for this entire post, so back to the recipe at hand.  I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for this recipe to find or make a great fresh mozzarella.  It’s imperative.  Also, reducing the balsamic vinegar is important because it makes it a lot sweeter and a bit syrupy.  Well, I may have reduced it a bit much because it was as thick as cold honey.  Oops.  I would totally do it again in a second though because the flavor was outstanding.  You can also make pretty designs with it on a the plate if you wish.  However you make it, the results will be stunning; a feast for both the eyes and the palate.

Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

INGREDIENTS:

2 large tomatoes, sliced
6-8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
Handful of fresh basil
Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS:

For the balsamic reduction: In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low and let simmer, swirling the pan occasionally, until reduced to about half of the original amount (it took mine about 15-20 minutes.)  Watch it carefully. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, assemble the salad by layering the tomato, mozzarella, and basil.

Lightly drizzle the olive oil and balsamic reduction over the salad and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Recipe source:  thecurvycarrot.com

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Author:Ashley

These are a few of my favorite things: cooking, baking, hiking, running, singing, animals, cruises, Disney World, , dining out, the Christmas season, fireworks, weddings, storms, 80's music, musicals, and my favorite pastime has always been baseball. Go Yankees!

17 Responses to “Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction”

  1. Sheryl
    June 15, 2012 at 11:03 AM #

    Great recipe and great story! I didn’t know about reducing the balsamic vinegar, so I can’t wait to try that!

    • June 15, 2012 at 12:53 PM #

      Thanks for commenting :)

  2. June 15, 2012 at 11:20 AM #

    I can’t say that I’ve ever been a picky eater. I’m always willing to try anything once – and this is a salad I’ve had MANY times! It’s just so simple and absolutely delicious – yours looks great =)

  3. June 15, 2012 at 3:30 PM #

    The salad looks great!

  4. Dawn
    June 15, 2012 at 7:17 PM #

    The reason I don’t eat meat is because the texture grosses me out, so I know what you mean! That’s me giving you a holler so that you know you’re not alone.

    • Katie
      August 28, 2012 at 12:57 AM #

      Texture IS extremely important. I wouldn’t eat plain jello for years (making me a very odd kid) because the texture reminded me of grey coagulated blood from ground beef. My mom always prepared jello with tons of fruit in it and I needed the added texture! For this reason, I had to learn to like cheesecake (that was dumb!) and I still prefer it thick and dry, not gelatinous! I also loved the flavor of cooked onions but not the texture of the slimy membrane side. I had to chew fast to not notice it anymore and begin to enjoy the flavor. Tomatoes that are past their prime get a little chewy, too, aside from the off flavor. And I completely agree about the chunky tomatoes in sauce but I love the flavor so much that I am able to ignore that terrible texture! My trick is to put the chunk between your back molars and squeeze all the juice out, then the texture is completely changed/crushed!! Best of luck! And by the way, great salad-I made it tonight and my picky teenager and tomato-hating preteen loved it!! Bravo!

      • August 28, 2012 at 1:07 AM #

        Thanks for the nice comment, Katie! I am totally with you on pretty much all the foods you mentioned :) I am getting better as I get older, though…thankfully!

  5. June 18, 2012 at 3:35 PM #

    Love this salad! and the reduction too. I prepare it often..

    • June 20, 2012 at 1:57 AM #

      Thanks for the comment!

  6. June 19, 2012 at 12:28 AM #

    Great recipe – always looking for something yummy! Thanks

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