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Caprese Salad with Balsamic Glaze

5 stars based on 13 votes

I always love the idea of Insalata Caprese (literally, the salad from Capri) but sometimes, I find it can be a little bland. The classic recipe calls for just a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkling of salt and pepper to flavor the salad, so as not to mask the delicate flavor of the mozzarella, but I like to add a bit more oomph. Here’s how: I start by sprinkling the tomatoes with a pinch of sugar, which brings out their natural sweetness and restores them to their sun-ripened, fresh-picked best. (I know this seems like cheating but don’t feel guilty — even fancy restaurants do it.) Then, I drizzle a dark and syrupy balsamic glaze over top, along with a little olive oil, which not only looks gorgeous but also adds a pop of tangy-sweet flavor to every bite.

ingredients

If you’re a lazy summer cook like I am, you’ll be happy to know that the recipe calls for store-bought balsamic glaze. Feel free to make your own but it’s really not necessary: store-bought tastes delicious, you only need a tablespoon or two, and the bottle will keep forever in your pantry.

sprinkling-with-sugar

Begin by sprinkling the tomatoes with sugar and half of the salt. Let them sit for a few minutes until the sugar dissolves, then arrange them on a platter, alternating with the mozzarella. Sprinkle the salad with the remaining salt and freshly ground black pepper.

drizzled-with-olive-oil

Drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil, followed by the same amount of the balsamic glaze. The glaze is so delicious, you might be tempted to overdo it, but try to use a light hand — a little goes a long way and too much will drown out all of the other fresh flavors. As for the basil, many Caprese salads call for whole basil leaves; I find them a bit too strong unless they are small, but feel free use them if you like. Enjoy!

Caprese-Salad-with-Olive-Oil-Balsamic-Glaze

Caprese Salad with Balsamic Glaze

Servings: 4-6 servings
Total Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Balsamic glaze (store-bought), for drizzling
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil, plus more whole sprigs to garnish the platter

Instructions

  1. Arrange the tomato slices on a cutting board. Sprinkle with sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and let sit for a few minutes until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Arrange the sliced tomatoes on a serving platter, alternating with the sliced mozzarella. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over top, followed by an equal amount of the balsamic glaze (it's fine to just eyeball it). Scatter the roughly chopped basil over top. Garnish the platter with sprigs of fresh basil, if desired.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 264
  • Fat: 19g
  • Saturated fat: 10g
  • Carbohydrates: 5g
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 17g
  • Sodium: 672mg
  • Cholesterol: 60mg

Reviews & Comments

  • This recipe was so easy to make! My whole family including my hard to please brother-in-law ;) loved it! A nice change from a typical salad and can be made any time of the year.

    - LauraK on February 15, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is one of the best, most simple foods on the planet. Easy to prep, especially now that there are places selling precut fresh mozzarella. I like to add a bit of garlic powder or onion powder in with the salt and pepper to give it a little bit of a different flavor.

    Top notch food!

    - Jane B. on February 14, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Such a simple and delicious recipe. You just cannot go wrong with this recipe!

    - Anthony Ivers-Read on December 1, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    A 5 star perfect recipe!!

    - Natalie on October 6, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hello. Smash hit at the 4th of July bbq. Presented guests with option of red and white balsamic from Trader Joe’s.
    Maraming Salamat (Thank you in Tagalog) for this recipe and all the feedback suggestions.

    - Cyncha Loo on July 7, 2016 Reply
  • Jen, any tips for cutting the mozzarella into presentable slices? Mine are often a mess and look more like hacking than pretty, uniform slices.

    - Jennifer on May 23, 2016 Reply
    • Ha! The best thing is a sharp knife — but the Belgioioso brand now comes pre-sliced in a log. So easy!

      - Jenn on May 23, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I like this recipe

    - Hafsa on May 9, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This salad is perfect for summer dishes. It’s fresh and light enough to not weigh you down! I had NEVER thought of adding sugar until trying this recipe, it makes a huge difference!

    - Tarah on November 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Sugar and salt made a world of difference. This was bursting with flavor!

    - Karen on October 3, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this salad and loved it. With the August crop of fresh native tomatoes, this one is one to make TONIGHT. I have balsamic glaze from William Sonoma (i found it a couple times at their outlet store) but you can even sprinkle the dish with good balsamic vinegar w/o reducing it and it will be tasty!!

    - Lindsay on August 27, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Jenn, I always learn something when I read your recipes because you are so good to share your culinary training tips. Thank you. Have made caprese salad many times, but never thought to sprinkle a little sugar over the tomatoes. It does make a difference. Your take on caprese salad is wonderful.

    - Jane Palmer on August 27, 2015 Reply
  • On the fourth store, I finally found balsamic glaze for this recipe. Now, having struggled to locate it, how else can I use it?

    - Jess on August 14, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Jess, It keeps for a long time so don’t stress about using it up quickly. That said, it is so delicious on simply grilled chicken, steak or salmon :)

      - Jenn on August 15, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made this for a dinner party this past weekend and loved the addition of the sugar/salt mixture. It made it so easy to buy the basalmic mixture.

    - Bev on August 4, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi. Is there any way to make the balsamic glaze at home? Thank’s.

    - Ruben on July 16, 2015 Reply
  • Regards. If I do not get the balsamic glaze at the supermarket, I can do? How it’s made?

    - Carlos on July 16, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is a fantastic salad! The touch of sugar is a great suggestion, as it really brings the flavors in the tomatoes to life. I used a variety of Heirloom tomatoes to add not only color to the dish but to add to the flavors in the salad. I did add one ingredient, I finished the salad with a dash of Tony Chachere’s original Creole Seasoning. This salad is now a family favorite. Delicious

    - Erika Buck on July 16, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Ah Caprese Salad,a reminder of my summer tomatoe garden ..Thank You !
    Delicious as well as healthy ….

    - Marlena Ceselli on July 16, 2015 Reply

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