Like Eddy says in Absolutely Fabulous, “It takes more than a carefully placed bottle of olive oil and some balsamic vinegar to make a kitchen,” but I have to disagree. I think it completes a kitchen! I love that fresh-tasting combination, and my cupboards are always stocked with different ‘pressings’ of oil and a myriad of vinegar choices. The thick aroma and deep flavor of olive oil cut by the bold, sweet tang of vinegar drizzled over Mediterranean veggies and herbs is like summer in a bowl. This incredibly easy recipe showcases these flavors, offering a taste of Tuscany and a colorful presentation that will surely impress! It also makes the perfect potluck dish – it’s easy, elegant, and everyone will love the refreshing contrast to the usual casserole and dip party fare.
Capri Party Salad
- 1 long baguette or 1 loaf of Italian bread
- 16 ounces of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut into halves
- 16 oz bocconcini (mini mozzarella balls), cut into halves
- Fresh basil
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Splash of balsamic or red wine vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice or tear the bread into 1 1/2 inch pieces. (Tearing it will give it a more ‘rustic’ look.)
- Spread the bread pieces out evenly on a cookie sheet. Drizzle lightly with oil, and place in the oven until very lightly toasted. The pieces should be dry and light brown. Don’t let them get dark brown and too crispy! Remove from oven and set aside.
- While the bread is toasting, cut each of the tomatoes and bocconcini in half. Place in a large bowl.
- Cut or tear as much fresh basil as you like, and toss with the tomatoes and cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil and a few splashes of vinegar to taste. If you are serving immediately, toss the bread pieces with the tomato mixture and eat up! If you are taking it to a party or serving it later, cover the tomato mixture and refrigerate. Place the bread pieces in an air-tight container or wrap in foil. Just before the salad is served, toss the bread with the tomato mixture until the juices are evenly distributed over the bread.
*WINSTON KITCHEN TIP: Try using fresh broccoli, steamed then cooled, instead of basil. Vegan? Use marinated or smoked tofu chunks instead of cheese. For a super fancy presentation, hollow out a bread loaf, and toss the salad inside the crust! Experiment with different kinds of tomatoes, mozzarella, and vinegars. No matter what you use, it’s always going to be yummy…