Have you ever wanted to fix a Caprese Salad during the winter months but didn't, because you knew it just wasn't going to be any good with bland, anemic winter tomatoes? Well, if you use this method you can have a tasty Winter Caprese Salad. The secret is to slow roast the tomatoes, removing the moisture from them and concentrating the flavor. You get a very intense tasting tomato out of a mediocre winter tomato.
I use Roma tomatoes in this recipe, but you could use almost any tomatoes - just adjust the roasting time. I also drizzled the finished dish with some Balsamic Glaze, which I love. I buy this brand at Williams Sonoma at a good price. It adds a little zing to a lot of dishes. This is an optional ingredient in this recipe. You can also make your own balsamic glaze by just simmering some balsamic vinegar and reducing it down until it's thick.
Winter Caprese Salad
for a printable recipe, click here
The goal here is to remove most of the moisture from the tomatoes, which concentrates the flavor and turns bland winter tomatoes into tasty roasted ones.
serves 6 - 8
8 Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 large garlic cloves, grated or minced
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, packed in water (I used a tub of Bocconcini, which had 4 balls of cheese)
8 leaves of fresh basil
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Glaze (optional)
slow roasting the tomatoes removes the moisture and concentrates the flavors
Preheat oven to 300° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Place cut tomatoes on baking sheet, cut side up. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil, the grated garlic and about ¼ teaspoons of sea salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Brush the cut sides of the tomatoes with the mixture until you use all the mixture. Place in the oven and bake for one hour.
After an hour, remove the pan from the oven and, with a spatula, gently press down on each tomato to flatten it and squeeze out the moisture. Be careful and do it slowly - the water in tomatoes will squirt out at you. Place the tomatoes back in the oven and bake for an additional 15 - 30 minutes, depending on how dried out you like the tomatoes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit. Place the tomatoes on a serving platter.
julienne the basil by rolling the leaves up and then slicing
Meanwhile, slice the mozzarella balls into 16 even slices. Place the cheese slices on top of the tomatoes. Drizzle the cheese with a few drops of olive oil. Sprinkle the cheese with just a little bit of sea salt. Drizzle with the Balsamic Glaze, if you're using it. Julienne the basil leaves and sprinkle on top. Serve at room temperature.