Caprese Salad with Balsamic Vinegar

Caprese Salad is a refreshing staple in many Italian restaurants and a breeze to make at home. No need to cook anything! I actually made this as the appetizer for LJ Bistro 11, with homemade basil gnocchi as the main entree. Unfortunately, the gnocchi didn’t turn out quite as expected (LJ Bistro fail!! =(), but you can see my attempts below. Mistake? Too much egg in the mixture, not enough flour to absorb all that liquid. As a result, the pieces of gnocchi were too sticky and hard to shape.

However, the caprese salad produced much better results. It takes talent to really screw this one up..if you’re not a fan of balsamic vinegar, feel free to just drizzle olive oil on top! I love both versions. Fresh mozzarella and basil work best.

Ingredients:

2 beefsteak tomatoes, thickly sliced
8 oz fresh mozzarella, thickly sliced
8 leaves fresh basil
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Black pepper

Instructions:

1) Arrange tomato slices on plate. Place mozzarella over tomatoes, and the basil over the cheese.

2) Mix the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Drizzle the dressing on top. Pepper to taste.

3) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate about 30 minutes before serving.

My failed basil gnocchi! While it tasted fine after being cooked, the rest of the dough was just too soft and sticky to work with (and I didn’t want to throw in too much more flour). Lesson – No egg necessary next time around.

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