I am in desperate need of a vacation. It was about this time my sophomore year in college one of my best friends from Kansas and I set off for a 5 week adventure in Italy… Part 2. My sister had exposed me to this beautiful country two years prior, and I was obsessed. Traveling through Italy is one of those rare experiences in life – surrounded by splendid palaces and painting, rolling hills and vineyards, and fresh cheese and bread galore. Luckily, I also had the best travel companion that loves food just as much as I do. I’ll save the details of our adventure for another time, perhaps over a cheese board and glass of vino when we’re getting to know each other better.
Anyway, here’s a random side note. I took a hiatus from cheese last year for, honestly, no particular reason. A little brie or gouda never killed anyone. I started to realize what a boring dinner date I had turned into, requesting anything over pizza or mac and cheese. Forgive me of my past everyone….
I still wish I could book a trip back each time I get an Italian food craving – so like every week – but science has yet to perfect teletransporting humans. Until then, I will settle for bringing my favorite flavors of Italy to my own table. For this dish I wanted to give special attention to my long lost friend, mozzarella. I gave the traditional Italian-style Caprese salad a refreshing and sweet twist by adding watermelon and topping it off with a balsamic reduction sauce. Delizioso!
- 3 heirloom or vine-ripe tomatoes
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella
- 2 cups seedless watermelon, cut in strips or cubed
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- Salt and Pepper
- Cut the tomatoes (horizontally) and mozzarella into 1/4-inch thick slices.
- Layer alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella in a circle on the plate.
- Place the seedless watermelon in the center of the circle of tomatoes and mozzarella.
- In a small pot, bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil over medium heat. Lower the temperature and allow the sauce to simmer until the vinegar has reduced by at least half. The longer you simmer the more syrupy the consistency. Allow to cool.
- Drizzle the salad with the balsamic reduction sauce, garnish with basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with whole wheat bread for a light meal