This is the most elegant version of a caprese salad you can imagine! Heirloom tomatoes are blended with olive oil to form a luscious and creamy sauce, which is then topped with fresh pulled mozzarella. Drizzle the whole plate with homemade basil oil and some fresh basil leaves. Date night perfection!
This is a completely modern take on a caprese salad. Sure, you could slice some ripe tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, layer them on a plate with basil, and drizzle with olive oil, but why oh why would you do that when you can take a traditional caprese salad to the next level?
Enter what I’m now referring to as mozzarella caprese.
So what the heck is this?
The ‘sauce’ is kind of like gazpacho. It’s fresh ingredients, blended together in a food processor, then strained. I took my favorite components from a caprese — tomatoes, duh! — and processed them with high quality extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, a splash of vinegar, and fresh basil.
It tastes pretty unbelievable on its own!
So now that we’ve got the base of the dish made, we’re moving onto a homemade basil oil. This is stupid simple.
Place fresh basil leaves in the bowl of a food processor with blade attachment affixed, then process while slowly drizzling in olive oil. This will sit until you’re ready to strain it and serve. I told you – EASY!!
Pour the strained heirloom tomato sauce into a shallow serving bowl or dish.
Next, take a large ball of fresh mozzarella and pull it with your hands into bite size pieces. Place them directly on top of the sauce.
Finally, drizzle mozzarella caprese generously with basil oil.
Note: if your fresh mozzarella is NOT salted, you’ll probably want to sprinkle a little flaky sea salt on top. No regrets!
You could stop now, but…. why not add a few fresh basil leaves?
What to serve with this
CRUSTY BREAD. Did you hear me in the back?! You def want to serve this with a big old piece of crusty bread for sopping up that delicious heirloom sauce. If you
As part of my Date Night In series, I’m offering up a few wine suggestions to serve alongside. Because the tomatoes are kept raw in this preparation (read: higher acidity than if they were cooked), you’re going to want to stick with wines that mirror that (aka: have a higher acidity).
Red wine: light-bodied reds, such as Gamay, Cinsault, or a lighter Pinot Noir
Rosé: I can vouch from personal experience that Wolffer Estate rosés pair beautifully! My favorite is their Summer in a Bottle, but the Finca and Estate rosés are also wonderful. Again, look for something with a fair amount of acidity.
White wine: Sancerre (one of our all-the-time go to wines!), Chablis, or Riesling would be great.
If you make this Mozzarella Caprese, let me know by leaving a review below!
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For more date night worthy meals, check out the following recipes:
Date night polenta with roasted mushrooms and shallots
Phyllo-wrapped feta cheese with truffle honey
Whole30 butternut squash with za’atar and lemon tahini sauce
Whole30 anchovy chicken
Marinated soy sauce eggs (shoyu tamago) with sticky rice
Mozzarella Caprese Gazpacho
- Fine mesh sieve
- 1 ½ lbs heirloom tomatoes
- ½ Tbsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 ¼ cup packed basil leaves divided
- 8-10 oz fresh mozzarella
- flaky sea salt for serving
- crusty bread for serving
To make caprese sauce
- Remove the core of each tomato with a paring knife and discard, then cut the rest of each tomato into large chunks. Place into the bowl of a food processor fitted with blade attachment.
- To the food processor, add salt and pepper, then pulse until a somewhat chunky, somewhat smooth mixture forms — about 10 quick pulses.
- Remove the lid, add ¼ cup packed basil and white wine vinegar to the bowl, then return the lid and pulse to combine. With the motor running, drizzle in ⅓ – ½ cup olive oil. You don't want the sauce to be too thin, so once it's combined, turn off the processor.
- Place a fine mesh sieve under a large bowl, then pour the tomato mixture into the sieve. Use a rubber spatula to push the sauce through, leaving behind only the pulp and small bits of basil (discard). If not using right away, cover the sauce with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator until serving.
To make basil oil
- Meanwhile, make a quick basil olive oil. Rinse the bowl of the food processor with water, then shake any excess liquid out. Add 1 cup packed basil leaves to the bowl fitted with blade attachment, then process until finely chopped. With the processor running, drizzle in ¼ cup olive oil. Once again, place your fine mesh sieve on top of a bowl, then strain basil oil. Set aside.
- Divide heirloom sauce into shallow bowls. Tear fresh mozzarella with hands into small, bite-size pieces, then place directly on top of sauce. Use a spoon to drizzle a small amount of basil oil back and forth over the top of the dish.
- Optional: sprinkle some flaky sea salt on top of each piece of mozzarella. Serve with crusty toasted bread.