Summer evokes all kinds of season specific food cravings for me; from anything on the grill to icy-cold drinks by the pool. BLT’s, fruit salads, ice cream, and corn on the cob all come to mind as well. But the food I look forward to most in summer? A classic Caprese salad. Traditional 'Insalata Caprese' is nothing more than fresh basil, creamy buffalo mozzarella, and the key component you can only get in summer – great tomatoes. Purist will season with salt, pepper and olive oil and you are set, but I love the almost as classic variation of the addition of an exceptional Modena balsamic vinegar.
Here is a simple departure on the classic – why not make it into an appetizer?
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, washed and stems removed
- 1 pound bocconcini (fresh mozzarella in small balls), drained
- fresh basil, leaves only
- extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt & freshly cracked pepper
- Pastamoré Barrel-Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Using small skewers (or larger ones cut in half with kitchen shears) start with a cherry tomato, followed by a bocconcini, a basil leaf folded over, another bocconcini, and finally a cherry tomato. Arrange on serving plate and drizzle well with extra virgin olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste, and finally a smaller drizzle of the Barrel-Aged Balsamic Vinegar.
These can be refrigerated for several hours, but do the seasoning & drizzling just before serving.
Alternatively, if you grocery store offers marinated bocconcini (usually in olive oil, salt & pepper) use these instead, or marinate them yourself for up to 24 hours.