I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again… The Italians know how to do ‘simple’ really well, i.e. they know when to stop. And, so it is with this Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction, with its Italian flag colours of red, white and green.
While it only boasts three basic ingredients – tomatoes, basil leaves and mozzarella – the tastes and textures that they yield as a combined dish are quite phenomenal. It doesn’t need much more than a drizzle of olive oil and some sea salt over top, however I added some reduced balsamic vinegar for a bit of extra kick… and, oh… mamma mia! Talk about delishimo.
As the salad relies so heavily on the taste of its three main ingredients, it’s vital to use the highest quality ingredients you can get your hands on. I used organic vine tomatoes and basil, a good quality mozzarella and Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. This dish is served historically as a starter course, though it functions perfectly well as a light lunch – I halved the recipe below for a single lunch dish for myself.
It’s ridiculously easy to put together – the only thing you have to ‘make’ is the reduced balsamic vinegar, which is a cinch. If you haven’t made or tasted balsamic reduction before, you’re in for a real treat – it’s a thick, syrupy sweet and sour sauce which livens up whatever it’s on. Enjoy!
CAPRESE SALAD WITH BALSAMIC REDUCTION
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 flavoursome tomatoes
- 1 ball of mozzarella cheese
- Handful of fresh basil leaves
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to drizzle
- Cracked sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Put the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture has reduced by at least half, or to a syrup consistency of your choosing.
- Slice tomatoes and mozzarella cheese thickly and arrange, along with the basil leaves, in an overlapping pattern on a serving plate.
- Drizzle olive oil over top, then the balsamic reduction and serve immediately.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Continuous Fluorescent Lighting Softbox