Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad

by Anne Bennett on May 18, 2012

Son-in-law Brendan’s father, Karl, is here for a few days to frame in a new refrigerator at the kid’s house. I thought a Kansas City-style steak dinner was in order, especially since I heard through the family grapevine that Brendan and his New Jersey dad consider New York strip steaks to be better tasting than Kansas City strips. (The butcher at McGonigle’s Market said they’re the same cut, so it must be a geographic loyalty thing.)

So, what to serve with obviously superior Kansas City steaks?  (Who is kidding whom?)

During the summer I make caprese salad with garden-ripe tomatoes from the farmer’s market, but they won’t be available until at least July. Ina Garten has a fix for that–she suggests substituting Roma tomatoes, available all year round, and slow roasting them in the oven until they’re almost caramelized.

Her recipe calls for sprinkling the tomatoes with minced garlic before putting them in the oven. Next time I make this I’m going to eliminate that step–although I love garlic, two hours in the oven rendered it a bit overpowering for my tastes. Besides, the tomatoes stand on their own without embellishment.

I use the Arbequina for drizzling and the larger bottle for cooking.

Quantities are adjustable according to the number of people you’re serving.

Heat the oven to 275 degrees. Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place them on a baking sheet and sprinkle them with kosher salt* and pepper and a splash of good extra virgin olive oil. ** Roast for about two hours or until they look almost like sun-dried tomatoes.

Allow them to cool to room temperature and then layer them on a platter with same-sized slices of mozzarella. Top with slivers of fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil.

* I prefer Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, which I get at Penzey’s Spices. Many professional chefs use Diamond Crystal because it has no additives and it has a coarse, flaky texture that’s easy to control when seasoning.

**Cooks Illustrated gives their highest rating to California Olive Ranch Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which I buy online directly from the source. There has been some reporting lately about European manufacturers fraudulently labeling their oils as extra virgin when they are not. I say, why not get the best and buy American?


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Christine June 2, 2012 at 2:49 am

That looks gorgeous, I shall make! Thanks Anne xoxoxo

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