Wheatless Wednesday Tomatoes, Mozzarella & Peaches with Balsamic Reduction

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Summertime favorite, Caprese Salad goes rogue with sliced ripe peaches and a drizzle of velvety rich balsamic reduction. This colorful combo was the brainchild of my son, Eric.  I had recently purchased a flat of perfectly ripe peaches and I am lucky enough to have a constant supply of lovely heirloom tomatoes from my garden in shades of red, yellow and even striped green.  The peaches add a nice sweetness to the traditional tomatoes and mozzarella and the balsamic reduction is the piece de resistance.  Of course, you can drizzle with a balsamic vinaigrette which is easy and delicious, but the reduction is worth the minimal effort.  In only 10 minutes or so, balsamic vinegar is transformed into a richly flavored syrup that can be drizzled on almost anything to enhance its natural flavors.  I also love using a variety of colors for an exceptionally colorful presentation.

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Peaches are one of summer’s most popular fruits and they are so good when they are at the peak of the season, like they are right now. Peach peels can  be fuzzy and tough, so I peel them for this salad so they blend better with the tomatoes.  If you are using a thinner skinned peach or nectarine, just slice them up without peeling.  Peaches are low in calories and fat free but provide fiber and a host of vitamins and minerals, including A, C and potassium.  They definitely add some pizzazz to this salad! For another ‘rogue move’, try substituting goat cheese or feta and adding some chopped fresh mint along with the basil.  Yum!

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I love using columnar basil when I can, especially as a garnish.  It has small leaves which are tender and fragrant, and quite pretty when sprinkled on top of foods since they don’t need to be chopped.  Most grocery stores don’t carry columnar basil but some Farmer’s Markets do.  I grow my own from seedlings I bought at a garden center.  They are pretty hardy compared to other types of basil and don’t flower as often (i.e. needing to be constantly clipped) so the plant keeps growing, up to three feet tall.

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TIPS:  For a beautiful arranged salad, cut all components into similar sizes, shapes and thickness, at least as much as possible.  To make ahead, slice tomatoes, peaches and mozzarella and arrange on a serving platter.  It will be fine sitting at room temperature for an hour or so until you’re ready to serve.  Drizzle with balsamic reduction and garnish with basil just before serving.

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TOMATOES AND MOZZARELLA WITH PEACHES AND BALSAMIC REDUCTION

3-5 assorted ripe tomatoes
1 large ripe peach
6 oz bocconcini (or other size fresh mozzarella balls)
1/4 cup fresh basil
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsn sugar

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  • Bring balsamic vinegar and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the vinegar mixture has reduced to 1/3 cup, about 10 minutes.

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  • Taste balsamic reduction and add another Tbsn sugar if it seems too acidic and cook another 5 minutes.. Set the balsamic reduction aside to cool (It should be a syrupy consistency) Check the consistency.  If it’s too thin, simmer for a few more minutes.  If it’s too thick stir in one drop of water at a time until syrupy.  Transfer to a small bowl or server with a spout.

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  • Remove stem end of tomatoes and cut in half vertically.  Cut horizontally into 1/4 inch slices (or wedges, if you prefer)

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  • Cut peach in half and remove pit and peel.  Slice horizontally into 1/4 inch slices and place on a platter with the tomatoes.

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  • Slice each bocconcini the long way into 3 slices. and arrange over tomatoes and peaches.

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  • Cut basil into julienned slices if using large basil leaves and sprinkle evenly over tomato mixture.

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  • Drizzle balsamic reduction over tomato mixture and serve with more reduction on the side.

 

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
20150816_180840

3-5 assorted ripe tomatoes
1 large ripe peach
6 oz bocconcini (or other size fresh mozzarella balls)
1/4 cup fresh basil
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsn sugar

  • Bring balsamic vinegar and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the vinegar mixture has reduced to 1/3 cup, about 10 minutes.
  • Taste balsamic reduction and add another Tbsn sugar if it seems too acidic and cook another 5 minutes.. Set the balsamic reduction aside to cool (It should be a syrupy consistency) Check the consistency.  If it’s too thin, simmer for a few more minutes.  If it’s too thick stir in one drop of water at a time until syrupy.  Transfer to a small bowl or server with a spout.
  • Remove stem end of tomatoes and cut in half vertically.  Cut horizontally into 1/4 inch slices (or wedges, if you prefer)
  • Cut peach in half and remove pit and peel.  Slice horizontally into 1/4 inch slices and place on a platter with the tomatoes.
  • Slice each bocconcini the long way into 3 slices. and arrange over tomatoes and peaches.
  • Cut basil into julienned slices if using large basil leaves and sprinkle evenly over tomato mixture.
  • Drizzle balsamic reduction over tomato mixture and serve with more reduction on the side.

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