Friday, January 29, 2010

Winter Caprese Salad

While I have already posted this recipe in My Favorite Recipes of 2009 post, I thought I would post a picture of the lunch I made myself earlier this week.  One of my absolute favorite dishes to eat during the summer when tomatoes are at their best, is insalata caprese (tomato mozzarella salad).  If I had access to beautiful heirloom tomatoes, basil and good quality fresh mozzarella year round, I would eat a simple tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil salad all year round with thick slices of juicy tomato, torn basil leaves, and soft creamy mozzarella drizzled simply with some good quality evoo, s&p.  Unfortunately, come November the tomatoes at the grocery store are about generally as appetizing as cardboard.  They can be terribly mealy, and even worse - they have absolutely no flavor.  And then they stay that way until early summer.  Yuck.

That is one reason I think this recipe is pure genius.  By slow roasting Roma or plum tomatoes for 2 hours you concentrate their flavor into something delicious, even if it's not quite the same as a fresh juicy heirloom tomato picked at its prime.  And since basil isn't exactly at its best either during the winter, you turn it into a simple pesto sauce with Parmigiano-Reggiano, garlic, and evoo.  Then you top the whole dish with some buttery toasted pine nuts.  Yum.

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