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Tossed Caprese Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

Caprese salads are an ideal summer salad, but sometimes, they are just that. A salad and not a meal. Tossing the tomatoes and mozzarella with lots of crisp and crunch lettuce makes this a meal and the basil vinaigrette will knock your socks off. Here's to bodacious basil plants and a way to celebrate all that is summer--ripe tomatoes and herbaceous basil.

Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine Italian, Mexican
Keyword caprese salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2
Author The Cowgirl Gourmet in Santa Fe

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 2 heads Romaine hearts chopped
  • 20-30 cherry or cherub tomatoes washed, dried and cut in half or not
  • 20-30 mozzarella pearls drained
  • 1/3 cup basil vinaigrette see recipe below
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sprig of fresh basil for plating

Basil vinaigrette

  • 1 shallot peeled and root and end removed
  • 1 heaping cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 2/3 scant cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

To make the salad

  1. In a big bowl, add the chopped Romaine hearts, tomatoes and mozzarella. 

  2. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. 

  3. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of the basil vinaigrette, toss well and serve, adding a touch more vinaigrette if desired. When plating, give each serving a bit more dressing for added color and flavor. Garnish with a sprig of basil and serve.

To make the basil vinaigrette

  1. Place everything but the olive oil in a blender or food processor. Pulse a few times to combine, using a spatula to scrape the sides and push everything together.

  2. Remove the cap of the blender or the covering tube of the food processor and start the machine, slowly pouring the oil as the blender or food processor are running. If using a blender, place your hand over the lid so it won't splatter.

  3. When the oil is incorporated and the basil and shallot are pureed, turn the machine off and scrape the sides again. Cover and puree for another 1 minute or so.

  4. Pour bright green vinaigrette in a glass jar and, if not using immediately, store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. When using the leftover dressing, let the dressing come to room temperature and sit for about 5 minutes before serving. Shake well and use liberally. Preferably with sliced tomatoes and your favorite cheese.