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Caprese Salad Bites

May 4, 2010

Caprese Salad

Tomato growing season is upon us; I can hardly wait to see the little buds that will turn into delicious red jewels later this summer.  Until I tasted an actual, home-grown, freshly-picked tomato, I didn’t know what I was missing.  So real tomatoes actually have flavor, wow!

This revelation came to me a few years ago when some friends gave us tomatoes that they grew in their yards.  I couldn’t get enough of them.  Sadly, I’d never considered myself to possess a green thumb so each season, I would patiently wait for the tomato handouts.  Alas, two years ago I finally tried to grow my own.  Success!  Well, after a couple of tries.  We have an open yard where wildlife roam freely.  After being told that the deer won’t eat tomato plants, I positioned five pots in the sunniest part of the yard.  These plants lasted a couple of weeks until the deer discovered them.  I proceeded to plant five more and created a makeshift “fence”.  We went out of town for a few days and sure enough, the deer found a way to get to them again!  After shedding a few tears and threatening to give up gardening forever (before I even really started), I came home one day to a fenced enclosure that my husband had built while I was at work.  Ah, it warms my heart just thinking about it.  This deer barrier allowed me to grow ten different tomato plants plus a few herbs.  That year, I made countless pasta dishes highlighting the simple, sweet flavor of a home-grown tomato.

This year, I’m growing three different varieties.  They’re hardly more than a foot tall now, so I’ll have to wait a couple of months to enjoy their bounty.  In the meantime, I’ll have to settle for the store-bought kind.  I’ve actually discovered that roasting tomatoes will do wonders to the flavorless Roma tomatoes that are so abundant at the grocery store.  Slow roasting them with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar brings out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes that you wouldn’t taste otherwise.  I’ll share my recipe soon.  In the meantime, here is a little starter that I prepared tonight since I had all the ingredients already.  I used cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil leaves to create these little bites.  If you have the patience to scoop out the seeds of a bunch of cherry tomatoes, this dish would make a great appetizer for a dinner party.  Otherwise, hand your kid a melon baller and give them the laborious task–it’s well worth it.

Caprese Salad Bites

  • Cherry tomatoes, tops sliced off and seeds scooped out with a melon baller
  • Basil chiffonade
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese cut into small pieces
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic, finely chopped
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • lemon juice
  • salt/pepper

This dish is all about assembling the individual components.  After preparing the tomatoes, stuff each one with a small piece of mozzarella cheese.  For the dressing, toss some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a bit of fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Whisk to emulsify and drizzle over the tomatoes.  Sprinkle basil chiffonade on top.  Enjoy!

Caprese Salad

34 Comments leave one →
  1. May 4, 2010 10:00 PM

    Saw you on food buzz. Glad I found this blog. I know I will enjoy following you. Your blog post was well-written. Your presentation is tight. Love the cheese cubes inside the tomatoes…flawless.

    Let’s keep in touch

    Cheers!

    Lazaro

    • May 4, 2010 10:11 PM

      Thanks for dropping by, Lazaro. Your Linguine con Bacon looks delish! Spaghetti Carbonara is one of my all-time favorite dishes–your version looks like a winner!

  2. May 4, 2010 11:19 PM

    A capreze bite is a wonderful thing – love how you put the cheese inside the tomato – super cleaver. Nice blog! { I too am a SF Bay Area blogger )

    • May 4, 2010 11:27 PM

      Thanks, Lisa. It’s always nice to meet fellow SF Bay Area bloggers. I smiled when I read your “About” page–you may have well been describing me, too! 🙂 Thanks for dropping by.

  3. May 4, 2010 11:57 PM

    Great presentation! Great salad!

  4. May 5, 2010 12:14 AM

    Jean, these are brilliant AND adorable! Perfect for entertaining — I can totally see putting my daughter to work on some cherry tomatoes. Actually, she would enjoy assembling the whole thing! BTW, beautiful photos!

  5. May 5, 2010 2:13 AM

    This is such a good idea! What a great dish to make for a party! 😀 I’ll definitely be trying this when I can get a hold of some tomatoes with flavour!

  6. May 5, 2010 2:23 AM

    These look perfect for a party.. very elegant and colorful! It’s a translation of my all time favorite sandwich. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  7. May 5, 2010 4:58 AM

    Loved your salad, it looks lovely. Beautiful pictures too.

  8. May 5, 2010 5:29 AM

    I simply LOVE tomatoes and your pictures make me feel like i can reach in to the computer and snag one. I cannot wait until I have a place with a yard where I can start growing my own vegetables. Glad to hear you have such a nice hubby!! How sweet 🙂

    • May 5, 2010 6:24 PM

      Thanks! Yes, he’s a keeper. 🙂 You’ll be so happy when you grow your own tomatoes–I’ve been hooked since.

  9. May 5, 2010 6:59 AM

    I love your photos—they’re gorgeous. Your recipes reflect exactly how I love to eat. Great blog…I’ll be folllowing!

    • May 5, 2010 6:28 PM

      Thanks so much! I dropped by your blog and saw that you have sumac on the list. I love it! I actually mentioned it here on an older post and planned to do a more elaborate one.

  10. May 5, 2010 7:17 AM

    I’m glad to have found your blog! These little bites look delicious. What a wonderful appetizer idea. I’m so glad that it’s warming up…summer tomatoes are the best. Thank you for sharing!

  11. May 5, 2010 1:09 PM

    Just wanted to drop by and say hi. You have a really lovely blog–nice photos and delicious looking recipes!

  12. May 6, 2010 4:50 AM

    These look delicious! Added to my “must make soon” list 🙂

  13. jcuesico permalink
    May 6, 2010 11:59 PM

    These look lovely. The ingredients are few & simple, yet when the final product looks so appetizing. I’ll have to try your recipe soon. 🙂

  14. May 7, 2010 7:42 AM

    I love this idea! So cute and definitely a winner!

  15. May 16, 2010 12:49 PM

    These looks absolutely delightful…You can see the love put into them!

  16. May 17, 2010 6:38 AM

    These are so simple and elegant how can you go wrong!

  17. Risaeats permalink
    May 25, 2010 1:45 PM

    What a terrific idea and boy does this look good.

    Another great way to keep the deer away is to plant French Marigolds all around the garden. They don’t like the scent. Spraying with a garlic and chile scented soap water keeps them from chewing the leaves.

    • May 25, 2010 1:57 PM

      Ow, wow! Thanks so much for this great tip. I’ll have to try this. Maybe this will keep them from chewing up my meyer lemon tree leaves too. Thanks!

  18. July 8, 2010 6:22 PM

    i’m growing Sun Gold and Super Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, but they are just the size of blueberries right now. i can’t wait to try out this recipe when they are ready for picking.

  19. June 23, 2011 2:23 PM

    What a great idea, I love caprese salad, and this is a nifty interpretation of the classic flavor combination. I’m curious, what type of tomato plants are you growing? I’m jealous, I definitely want to get a garden going next year!

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