by Karin Calloway
Caprese Salad has become part of the American culinary landscape. This classic Italian combination of fresh ripe tomatoes, mozzarella and basil now appears on the menus of upscale restaurants and chains alike. Many chefs are toying with the combination, creating caprese pasta dishes or using the combination to top hamburgers, and this recipe is a warm twist on the dish as well.
Instead of layering the tomatoes, cheese and basil or tossing them together, Roma or small ripe tomatoes are sliced open and filled with the basil and cheese before being warmed in the oven. The warm tomatoes are served atop a crisp, cool romaine chiffonade. The salad is dressed with a combination of prepared pesto sauce, olive oil and vinegar that’s a snap to whisk together.
While tomatoes bake, place the romaine chiffonade in a large bowl. Whisk pesto, olive oil and vinegar in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and set aside until ready to use.
When tomatoes are done, toss the romaine with some of the vinaigrette. Taste and add more dressing, salt and pepper if needed. Toss again. Divide among salad plates and top with a warm tomato. Drizzle any remaining vinaigrette over the top of the tomatoes
Makes 6 salads.
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