Thursday, June 21, 2012

Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad

I'm revisting my Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and am really trying to cook as much as possible from them.  I have so many cookbooks and feel like I'm constantly using the internet to get inspirations for recipes and I hardly use them!  The first time I had roasted tomatoes was at my mom's house, who purchased them from one of those antipasto bars in a high end grocery store (you know the ones that have olives, artichokes, mozzarella balls, etc) and I could not stop eating them!  The flavor just gets so concentrated, but different than a sun-dried tomato.  Remembering that I saw Ina Garten roast tomatoes on her show, I knew I had to try it out at home.  I was not dissapointed!  We were eating these right off the tray when they came out of the oven and had to restrain ourselves so I could make this salad, which needless to say was amazing.  I love a good Caprese salad, it's probably one of my most favorite meals EVER, but the flavor of these caramelized tomatoes just put this right over the top.  Like Ina says, tomatoes with the volume turned up (LOVE her!!). 

Just a side note, I've also read where she does these at 475 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Much faster, so whatever your time allows for (this recipe takes 2 hours to roast).

Serves 6 (unless you're my family) :)

12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
16 oz fresh mozzarella
12 fresh basil leaves, julienned

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.  Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer.  Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Sprinkle the garlic, sugar, salt and pepper over the tomatoes.  Roast for 2 hours until the tomatoes are concentrated and begin to caramelize.  Allow the tomatoes to cool to room temperature.

Cut the mozzarella into 1/2 inch slices, cutting in half again in they are bigger than the tomatoes.  Layer the tomatoes alternately with the mozzarella and sprinkle with basil.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Serve at room temperature.  

(Souce:  Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics)

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