Story last updated at 9/18/2013 - 2:01 pm
For a long time I had been pondering a new recipe that sounded good in my head, but I couldn’t help but wonder, would it actually taste good? I love a good Caprese Salad except that I’m not a huge fan of cold mozzarella cheese. I have a love affair with all cheeses, but sometimes they just need to be warm. Mozzarella is one of these. The gooey factor is what makes the difference. Biting into a pizza or something with melted mozzarella and having the strings of gooey, hot cheese connecting your mouth to your hand is sheer delight. Unless you are in a five star restaurant and then you feel like a toddler who hasn’t quite refined the concept of table manners. But deep inside you know you’re loving it.
Caprese salads hail from Capri, Italy. They are usually served as an appetizer or antipasto and not as a side dish. They are light and not too filing. Going back to my “What if?” concept … what if I roasted the tomatoes and cheese and made a roasted Caprese salad? Would that work?
If I’m going to change up this recipe, I needed to use quality tomatoes. Romas just weren’t’ going to cut it. Let’s talk tomatoes; specifically Heirloom tomatoes. I love tomatoes and living in Juneau, I have found that the best I can buy are Heirlooms. They are sweet and juicy and full of flavor. I could eat them like apples. The only problem is the cost. On occasion I am willing to pay $5.99 a pound for one or two because they are that good.
Settling on two beautiful heirloom tomatoes, (one red, one dark green) and the other necessary ingredients, I excitedly went to work. What an easy recipe this was. I also learned a lot. Mostly I learned that my husband had no idea what an Heirloom tomato was and that he was completely appalled that I would deign to serve a dark green one. He insisted that for this article I use pictures only of the red ones, because tomatoes are red. They’re not orange, yellow or green. They are red and everyone knows that. And, if you use something other than red people will think you’re weird. This isn’t a direct quote, but it does encompass our conversation. The best part of his diatribe was how adamant he was about the color of tomatoes and the fact that he cleaned his plate. He of course had the red tomato.
When Grant asked me if I was going to use this recipe for my column I said most definitely. And, this whole conversation about tomatoes we just had, yep that’s going in the article too. I have to love the man, he gives me great material.
As a side note, I would like to add that the roasted Caprese salad had the gooey factor I crave. It was delicious and flavorful. This week I present a new twist on a classic recipe: Roasted Caprese Salad. I do encourage using whatever color tomatoes you enjoy.
Until next time…
Eat and enjoy,
ROASTED CAPRESE SALAD
2 large Heirloom tomatoes (as round as possible)
12 ounce package fresh mozzarella
Salt and pepper
¼ cup fresh basil, cut into ribbons
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice tomatoes and cheese into 4 thick slices. Place bottoms of tomatoes in small roasting dish (greased) and sprinkle with salt and pepper, top with layer of cheese, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Complete the process until the tomato is complete. Drizzle with olive oil and roast 7-10 minutes, until cheese is melted. The stacks may slide apart.
Place each stack on a plate and drizzle with more olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle desired amount of fresh basil. This is a great side dish for a steak.
Kelly Moore, a.k.a. Midgi, writes and cooks from Juneau. Visit her blog, www.mealswithmidgi.com, for additional stories and recipes. She may be reached at midgi@