Recipe: Fresh Mozzarella and Tomatoes with Pesto Oil
I doubled the basil leaf goodness by making a batch of basil pesto, and then thinned it with additional olive oil. I drizzled it over the salad and served it with another Caprese essential: good crusty bread. You could also reduce balsamic vinegar to a syrupy glaze, and anoint your Caprese with the sacred droplets. Or consider chopping up your Caprese and tossing it with chopped romaine lettuce or freshly cooked pasta.
Yield: 4 servings
Time: 15 minutes (not including pesto preparation)
- 2 locally grown ripe red tomatoes, sliced then halved*
- 2 locally grown ripe yellow tomatoes, sliced then halved*
- 8-12 large basil leaves
- 1 (approx. 8-ounce fresh mozzarella ball) sliced then halved
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons prepared pesto (recipe follows)
* My tomatoes were large so I cut them in half for easier serving, though it’s not necessary.
1. Lightly sprinkle tomato slices with kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Select a large platter or individual serving dishes. Arrange by alternating and overlapping mozzarella slices with sliced tomatoes and basil.
2. Combine olive oil with pesto and spoon over top.
Ingredients for pesto
- 1 cup pine nuts
- 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled
- 4 cups packed freshly harvested basil leaves, washed, stems and flowers removed
- 1/2 to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup grated Parmigianno Reggiano*
*Omit the Reggiano if you're freezing the pesto. Simply add it back after the pesto is thawed.
Directions for pesto
1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees.*?
2. Toast the pine nuts and garlic in the oven until the pine nuts are golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.
3. In a food processor, puree the garlic with 2 tablespoons oil until smooth. Add the pine nuts to the bowl and, with off and on pulses, pulse until semi-pureed yet coarse. With a spatula, scrape garlic-nut mixture from the bowl into another bowl and reserve.?
4. Working in batches, place the basil leaves in the food processor and, with the addition of remaining olive oil, puree until smooth. Combine basil mixture with garlic-nut mixture. Stir in Parmesan and season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. The pesto will remain fresh, tightly covered, several days refrigerated. You may also spoon into ice cube trays and freeze them to use as desired.
This recipe was written by Peggy Lampman and originally posted on AnnArbor.com on Aug. 11, 2011.