Saturday, June 15, 2013

Caprese Salad with Brown Sugar Balsamic Reduction

Hi, friends! Things are going great at the new job so far, and I'm so thankful. However, I definitely miss having so much time in the kitchen, and definitely try to make up for lost time on the weekends. With that in mind, you get two recipes today! Get excited! :)
I have some gorgeous fresh basil in my garden that I've been SO EXCITED to use! A crisp, fresh Caprese salad seemed like the perfect platform to showcase my basil, especially on a muggy Texas day like today. It's colorful, healthy, and so flavorful!
Aside from the flavors, what I love most about Caprese salad is the wonderful simplicity with which it comes together. Tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil--that's all you need to assemble this tasty salad! It's hard to improve upon such a classic, but a dressing of balsamic vinegar and olive oil only enhances the flavors, along with a quick sprinkle of some coarse salt.

I got a little creative with the balsamic today, though, because as I was searching for the perfect balsamic reduction, I stumbled upon a recipe that utilized brown sugar and vanilla in the reduction, and obviously, I had to try it! This is another loose recipe that you can customize for as many or as few mouths you have to feed : )
  • Ripe tomatoes, thickly sliced (I used two Roma tomatoes)
  • Fresh Mozzarella, thickly sliced (not shredded or in a block--you need a fresh ball of mozzarella)
  • Fresh Basil leaves 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Balsamic Reduction Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

In a small saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar, sugar, and vanilla to a boil over medium-low heat. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes, or until balsamic has reduced to a thicker glaze. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Allow to cool. 

When you're ready to serve, arrange tomato and mozzarella slices on a platter. Arrange basil leaves between the slices. Drizzle olive oil over the top of the salad, getting a little bit on each slice. Do the same with the balsamic reduction. End with a sprinkling of kosher salt and black pepper.
In a non-reactive small pot, place all of the ingredients and bring it to a boil.  Once boiling, whisk away and turn the flame down to low.  Whisking occasionally, let the mixture reduce and thicken for about 20 minutes.  Avoid over-cooking this or you will have a caramel textured taffy.  When you can coat the back of a spoon or a whisk and 20 minutes have passed, you’re ready.  Pour the reduction into a container or mini pitcher and let cool. - See more at:

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