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Friday, July 12, 2013

Table Caprese Salad

This was the salad I chose to make for my daughters graduation party, and I'm so glad I did.   It's a party size version of the caprese salad, set out on a large platter.  Tender baby arugula is used for the lettuce, then heirloom cherry tomatoes and fresh marinated mozzarella balls are arranged on top.  This lovely salad is then drizzled with a homemade Lemon -Pesto Vinaigrette.  I'm a little upset  ~ because it was so pretty but I only managed to get a picture at this stage of it, when it was getting happily scooped up by guests.  I can't be that upset though, because it was sooo delicious and guess what ~ minutes later this platter was completely empty!!  I had lots of food and everything went well, but I think this was the favorite.  This is definitely a keeper and will be enjoyed at many future parties to come.

Lemon-Pesto Vinaigrette
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
4 oz fresh basil, stemmed - about 4 cups lightly packed
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup plus 3 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Instructions:  heat the pine nuts in a large skillet over med heat, and stir until golden brown, about 4 mins.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Place the garlic and 1/4 cup of the nuts in a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until combined.  Add the basil, salt, 1/2 cup of the olive oil, and blend for a few mins until basil is pureed.  Add the lemon juice and remainder of the olive oil and pulse a few times, just until combined, set aside. Or make the night before and keep refrigerated.
Salad
2 8 oz packages baby arugula
2 containers marinated mozzarella balls
2 pints assorted cherry tomatoes - I used one pint of mixed heirloom and one pint orange heirloom - rinse and dry and cut in half
2 ripe plum tomatoes, rinse and dry and slice in thin 1/2 wheels as pictured above.
Using a large decorative platter make a generous bed of arugula in the center.  Arrange the sliced plum tomatoes around the edge of the lettuce.  Then top with the halved cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls.  Drizzle with the vinaigrette and leave the rest in a pitcher for serving on the side.  If desire sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup pine nuts on top of the salad (I forgot this step amid all the many other preparations going on and it was great without it - but I bet it would be great with them too). 
Recipe adapted from Rebecca's Table Caprese Salad from book below

A serving of the caprese salad with the pesto pasta salad - a post will be coming for that one soon
 
This wonderful salad was from my new go to party book, so many delicious recipes, available in my store here:  http://astore.amazon.com/rosscoubak-20/detail/B0091LILSC
 

Enjoy!

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