Caprese Salad….With A Twist!!!

I love the combination of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.  I love the creamy texture and taste of fresh mozzarella.  I love the bright flavor of basil.  What don’t I like about a Caprese Salad?  Sliced tomatoes leaving their tomato slime all over my plate!  I do enjoy eating diced tomatoes in a pasta dish, or even on a taco as a pico de gallo.  I cannot, however, eat a sliced tomato – there is just too much slime involved.  And – I know when one has been accidentally placed on a sandwich I order and then removed! 

I decided to try a twist on this salad by replacing the tomatoes with roasted bell peppers.  This may not be for everyone, especially those tomato lovers, but I LOVED it!   The sweetness of the bell peppers was an excellent pairing with the fresh Mozzarella and basil. 

I also used a white balsamic vinegar from Queen Creek Olive Mill.  It was delicious!  And of course the Tuscan Estate EVOO was from there as well. 

Serving this over a bed of romaine lettuce tossed with the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper added another layer of texture and more nutrition as an additional serving of veggies for my meal! 

Give this twist a try – I’d love to hear what you think!

Caprese Salad – With A Twist
Serves 1-2 (serves 2 as a starter)

Ingredients: (Romaine lettuce not pictured)

3-4 slices (1/4 inch thick) fresh Mozzarella
2 bell peppers (I used one red, one yellow)
2-3 tablespoons chiffonade of basil (about 3-4 leaves) – How to chiffonade?  Stack the leaves, roll them tightly (long ways), cut across the leaves creating ribbons of basil!
3-4 cups torn Romaine lettuce
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
2-4 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Start by roasting the bell peppers.  This will take some time – so make sure you allow for it!  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place the bell peppers on a piece of foil in the oven and roast, turning with tongs occasionally, for about 30 minutes.  You can also throw them on the grill – you’ll get the to the same result!  Once they are blackened and the skin is blistered, they are done.  Remove them from the oven and place them in a zip top bag for about 15 minutes.  This will help “steam” them and the skins will remove more easily.  Warning:  Oven roasting peppers will make your home smell amazing all day! 

Once they have sat in the bag for awhile, take them out and remove the skin.  Be gentle with them, you’ll want them to stay in large pieces for your salad. 

Toss your Romaine lettuce with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, -2 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.  Place your dressed lettuce on a plate.  Top with roasted bell peppers and slices of fresh Mozzarella – alternating.  Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, 1-2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste over the fresh Mozzarella and roasted bell peppers.  Sprinkle with chiffonade of basil.  Enjoy your salad – free of tomato slime!

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