It wasn't a restaurant that was on my foodie 'must try' list or in a super trendy neighborhood, but the service was good and so was the food, so it totally fit the bill for what we were looking for that evening. I would say that the food wasn't very memorable except that almost 2.5 years later, I cannot stop thinking about the salad we shared that night. A memorable salad... Who would've thought?
Even more surprising is that this salad is really simple and this is the first time I have attempted to recreate it! But when the weather warmed up (for one day) recently, I was totally inspired to make this California take on an Italian favorite. The 'tricolor' effect here is pretty simple: you've got your standard caprese ingredients fresh tomatoes and creamy mozzarella paired up with chunks of fresh avocado. A little drizzle of olive oil, balsamic reduction, and a sprinkle of fresh basil and that's it! Fresh, delicious, and the perfect taste of Italy... and California.
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup mozzarella ciliegine, halved
- 1 avocado, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/4 cup basil, thinly sliced
Pour balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat. Allow the vinegar to simmer (but not boil) for 15-20 minutes until the mixture has reduced by at least half. At this point, it should coat the back of the spoon and have a syrupy consistency. Remove from heat, whisk in honey, and set aside to cool.
Add tomatoes, mozzarella, and avocado to a large bowl. You can mix them all together, but I like to group the ingredients together to achieve that stripey, tricolor effect.
Season the salad mixture with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle the basil over the top and follow by drizzling the cooled balsamic reduction evenly over the top.