We are in the middle of summer and the freshest tomatoes are popping up at the farmer’s markets. I’m patiently waiting for them to arrive here in central PA. My dad lives about a million miles away in TN so I can’t enjoy his bounty of tomatoes. What’s a tomato loving girl to do? Cry! No? Make Ina Garten’s roasted tomato caprese salad? Ok! I just love this salad. When you roast tomatoes, magic happens. They become sweet and oh so yummy. This recipe is great all year long and not just when the tomatoes aren’t ripe. It brings a new dimension to the tomatoes and I love it. My sister in law on the other hand wears a t-shirt that states “Tomatoes, ruining other food since 1540”. But what does she know?
On a side note: the cookbook where I got this recipe is my most treasured book of all! My beautiful Aunt Terri had the pleasure of meeting Ina a few years back. I was so excited for her and slightly jealous because Ina is one of my favorites. A week after she met Ina I got a package in the mail. I opened it up and…wait for it… It was a signed copy of her new cookbook! I called my Aunt screaming from excitement and slept with that book for weeks. Fine, it wasn’t quite in bed with me but was on the night stand next to me.
Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad
- 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 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 16 ounces fresh salted mozzarella
- 12 fresh basil leaves, julienned (see note)
1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut side up, in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with garlic, sugar, 11/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 2 hours, until the tomatoes are concentrated and begin to caramelize. Cool to room temperature.
2. Cut the mozzarella into slices slightly less than 1/2 inch thick. If the slices are larger than the tomatoes, cut them 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.
*Note: To julienne basil leaves, place several basil leaves on top of each other. Roll them up lengthwise like a cigar then start slicing.
Source: Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics