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Monday, December 28, 2015

Caprese Salad Bowl

This salad is fashioned after the classic and favorite Caprese salad ~ but instead of plating and overlapping the ingredients, we use similar flavor combos and make it a big beautiful, delicious, party worthy salad.  I love the flavors of baby arugula and baby spinach with juicy fresh tomatoes, soft flavorful marinated mozzarella balls, crusty fresh garlic bread croutons, all drizzled with a fresh lemon basil vinaigrette, YUM!
8 oz package washed and cleaned baby arugula
4 oz package washed and cleaned baby spinach - chopped a little smaller
approx. 1/2 lb marinated ciliegini (mozzarella balls) cut in 1/2
1/2 loaf good Italian bread, sliced thin
Variety of good tomatoes quartered - I used Campari and Kumato - or use a nice baby heirloom mixed pack and cut in 1/2
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.
Vinaigrette recipe adapted from Pastry Queen Parties - Rebecca Rather, salad inspired from Pastry Queen Parties ~ Table Caprese Salad
Prepare garlic croutons:  Mix together about 2 Tbsps melted margarine, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 clove fresh minced garlic,  couple of sprinkles garlic powder, italian seasonings, salt, pepper - to taste ~ brush mixture on 1 side of sliced Italian bread and toast up in toaster oven - turning once and spreading other side with mixture - to get both sides good and crusty.
Place tomatoes and mozzarella balls throughout top of salad, alternating them, top with croutons.  When ready to serve drizzle with vinaigrette and serve remainder along side salad along with the extra croutons.

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