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Spring Caprese Salad

Spring is here in the Pacific Northwest, which means gorgeous, sunny days alternating with days and weeks of rainy days. Our Spring lasts into June, so it can seem never-ending sometimes, but we wouldn’t trade it.

We love to barbecue on those nice and sunny days and even on some of the rainy ones. We try to keep the side dishes easy so I can quickly prepare them in the house before getting outside in the sun with Michael and Euro, who man the grill. The salad is easy to prepare at home or on a camp trip.

Basil is plentiful in the Spring and we love to cook with fresh herbs. When camping, we have also substituted pesto sauce for the fresh basil for convenience - fresh herbs don’t travel well in hot vehicles. Heirloom tomatoes are some of the best for this recipe and fresh tomatoes from a farmers market coming in at a close second. We have substituted with many other varieties during our travels and enjoyed it just the same.

The balsamic reduction is a nice touch. You can purchase it pre-made or make it yourself (recipe below). Yes, I do make it camping. You can technically the salad without the balsamic reduction, add lemon juice or zest or a few drops of plain balsamic vinegar.

Our friends have coined, “porch time” for any event involving a friends event on a porch, in the yard, or on a deck. This salad is an easy side dish for porch time. You can event put the cheese and tomatoes on skewers, brush with pesto and provide the balsamic reduction on the side as a dip.

Spring Caprese Salad Recipe

Amount Ingredient Suggested Alternatives
2-4 Tomatoes can use roma, heirloom, beefsteak
5-7 leaves Basil Pesto Sauce
2-3 ounces Mozzarella Cheese part skim, fresh, burrata, etc. can use goat cheese
1-2 tsp, to taste (optional) Balsamic Reduction can purchase or make your own
1-2 tsp Olive Oil can lessen if pesto has enough oil
Dash, to taste Salt and Pepper

Serves 2-3. We generally use a large tomato and 1 oz of cheese per person.

Directions:

1.On a solid surface (like a picnic table), slice or cube tomatoes

2.Slice or chop cheese, if necessary

3.Chop basil, if using

4.Layer tomatoes and cheese with pesto (if using)

5.Sprinkle with chopped basil

6.Drizzle Balsamic Glaze and Olive Oil

7.Finish with salt and pepper. Serve and Enjoy.

Balsamic Glaze

Ingredients: 4-6 oz of Balsamic Vinegar (double the amount of liquid that you want for the finished product)

Pour vinegar into saucepan, medium heat, bring just to a boil, stir and reduce to simmer, stirring occasionally and cook until it reduces by half and becomes syrupy and thick (approximately 15 minutes). Keep an eye on it - it can burn fast. The end result should coat the back of a spoon. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge (or cooler) for up to two weeks (add it to eggs, sandwiches, salads, fish).

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