First off, I made what would be kind of a pesto salt. I chopped (and chopped and chopped and chopped…) a cup (lightly packed) of basil leaves, 5 cloves of garlic, and half a cup of kosher salt. The mixture was spread in a baking pan and spent the day
The morning of “recipe day” I put together the drizzle for the salad. Into the pitcher of my Blendtec went 1 tablespoon red wine, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons honey, a clove of garlic, 2 cups (kinda sorta packed) fresh basil leaves (weighed about 2 oz.) and a couple grinds each of Himalayan salt & black pepper (to taste). When that became all nice & relatively smooth, 1/3 cup of olive oil was trickled in to blend up a sweet basil vinaigrette. Sooooooo tasty -- mmmmmmm!
I sliced an eggplant and brushed both sides of each slice with olive oil. Then I lightly sprinkled on some of that pesto herb salt. Those pretty little rounds got grilled until they had some lovely stripes criss-crossing their surface. I put them in a covered dish to chill until the ultimate assembly before dinner.
I’ve had my share of good caprese salads at restaurants (I’ve had at least one not quite so good caprese…) But let me tell you -- the addition of those grilled eggplant slices sends this salad into a whole different stratosphere!
The subtle flavor just melds so deliciously with the tomato and fresh mozzarella slices.
…and the drizzle -- ah, that sweet basil drizzle…
It was good to the last, ummmmm, drip… (you probably can’t tell I spooned some more on, right?)
Check out what my friends created with tomatoes & herbs: