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Caprese Salad with Herby Basil Pesto

Caprese Salad with Herby Basil Pesto


Basil Pesto:
2 cups of fresh basil or mixed fresh herbs (basil, rocket, mint, coriander, baby spinach)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1⁄3 cup pine nuts (or any other fragrant nuts)
½ olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1 squeeze of lemon juice
Salt and pepper for seasoning
In a liquidiser, pulse together all of the ingredients untilthe mixture reaches a pesto-like consistency. Store in an airtight container, with a layer of olive oil floating on top to preserve it.


Croutons:
½ cup butter
2 tablespoons crushed garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, parsley, basil)
Ciabatta bread cubes
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Melt the butter, and then add the garlic and the fresh herbs. Mix the pieces of bread with the melted herb butter mixture to lightly cover the cubes. It shouldn’t drench the bread; the cubes should stay firm. Place the lightly buttered bread cubes on a baking tray and season with salt and pepper.
Bake at 170°C for 15 minutes or until golden and crisp.


Finally, the salad:
Slice heirloom tomatoes into diff erent sizes and place them in a salad serving dish. Add slices of mozzarella and a handful of fresh herbs. Drape with a swirl of balsamic reduction. Place the croutons on top and dress with the basil pesto.