I have loved caprese salad for a long time now, but this summer I have been particularly obsessed with it. There is nothing fresher and yummier on a hot day than a cool caprese. I have not found an incarnation of this delectable delight that I don't love, but I have found my favorite. If you are a caprese fan, you MUST try this. It is from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa herself, and it is a real treat.
- 12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeds (not cores) removed
- 1/4 cup good olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 16 ounces fresh salted mozzarella
- 12 fresh basil leaves, julienned
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with the garlic, sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 2 hours until the tomatoes are concentrated and begin to caramelize. Allow the tomatoes to cool to room temperature.
Cut the mozzarella into slices slightly less than 1/2-inch thick. If the slices of mozzarella are larger than the tomatoes, cut the mozzarella slices in half. Layer the tomatoes alternately with the mozzarella on a platter and scatter the basil on top. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Serve at room temperature.
You can see in the photos above that I like to make myself a personal-size caprese, but you can easily fill a platter with this as well. Also, please excuse the look of my baking pan. It is older than dirt, but seasoned perfectly. I am not sure if I will ever part with it.