You Say Tomato, I Say Caprese...

A long time ago and far, far away, I learned about Insalata Caprese from that Italian/Californian chef Michael Chiarello. I was watching PBS, as I usually do, and he made some very large, very unwieldy, stacked salad with a few large slices of tomato, a SLAB of moozarellllllle (which is how I hear it when proper Italians say the word), and basil. Since then, I've revised.....and today, I revised it even further to try to increase the health value whilst decreasing the fat content. Kind of hard with cheese, but every little bit counts, eh?

So, to go with tonight's chicken, whose preparation technique remains undecided, I bring you a light-hearted version of Insalata Caprese:

Insa-LITE-a Caprese

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, washed
  • 6-7 large, fresh basil leaves, also washed, then patted dry
  • 1/3 c red onion, thinly sliced and chopped
  • 8 oz package fresh Mozzarella cheese
  • Wish Bone Salad Spritzers Balsamic Breeze
  • Kosher salt-just a pinch or two

  • Cutting board
  • Salad bowl or bowl of your choosing
  • Plastic wrap or a lid for the bowl
  • Knife
  • Spoon or spatula

What to do....

  • Cut each grape tomato in half. Yeah, it's labor-intensive, for about 5 minutes. 
  • Make a fancy chiffonade out of the basil. Failing that, roll the leaves together, then slice thinly through all layers. VOILA: Chiffonade. 
  • Cut and peel at least 1/2 of a red onion, and thinly slice off 6 to 8 slices. Chop those slices in half or in thirds, depending on how large you want your onion chunks. 
  • Throw everything in the bowl, like this: 
  • Cut off at least four slices of Mozzarella, maybe about 1/2 inch thick, using approximately 6 of the 8 ounces. (I don't have any clue why I insist upon capitalizing Mozzarella..I just do) 

  • Cut the slices into cubes, like so: pile the slices into a stack, cut into 4-6 rows in one direction, the 4-6 rows in the next direction, so as to create little squares. I am having a brain fart right now, so I cannot recall how you would properly define the amount of turn it would take. I wanna say a quarter-turn, but it's not sounding right. Just make CUBES! 
  • Add cheese to the veggies and basil and sprinkle with 1-2 pinches of kosher salt 
  • Spritz the entire salad with the Balsamic Breeze dressing, approximately 7-8 times then stir to evenly coat the salad 
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid, and refrigerate for at least one hour to allow all the flavors time to get properly acquainted. 
  • Eat. It. 

Altogether, it wasn't really THAT unhealthy to begin with, it was just dressed with approximately 1/4 cup of olive oil. Huge amount of fat there, so in hopes of decreasing fat, I opted for the Salad Spritzer dressing, which rolls in at 1 gram of fat and 10 calories, or less, considering that I used less than the 10-spray serving size. The cheese...ah, the cheese....it's actually not TOO bad either...a 1 oz. serving has 5 grams o' fat and 70 calories, so, take that times 6 oz. used, and you get 30 grams fat, 420 calories....but then, a salad of THIS size will effective serve at least 3 people, so you have 10 grams of fat and 140 calories, per serving, in cheese.  No fat and very little calories in the tomatoes, onions and basil.....so effectively, you get a side salad with 143.33333 calories and 10.3333333 g of fat. 

Serve it with a grilled boob o' chicken and some sort of baked potato, rice, or another veggie, in steamed format and you're doing really well, whilst holding on to a ton of flavor!  

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