How about an appetizer dish that can be enjoyed more than one way. Takes less than 15 minutes to put up and is quiet an eye candy at your dinner table. Caprese antipasto is one of my favorite classic Italian salads. Antipasto means a starter / appetizer and caprese is like a salad . A quick fix light meal in a flash . If we are at an Italian restaurant , caprese is one thing we never fail to order. It’s our hot favorite on the menu. Caprese salad or a starter is absolutely delicious , attractive , filling and a crowd pleaser. And needless to mention there are many ways to enjoy it. Today I am sharing caprese antipasto 2 ways – avocado salad and bruschetta.
Enjoy it as a light snack / appetizer / side with your meal as a salad or a bruschetta or make it your complete meal pizzas , stuff it in paninis or wraps, puffs , pies and so much more.
And if you haven’t tried it yet , please do.
Next time you host a dinner party , make sure to add this in your menu .
One more reason to make this quick post – I finally got my new camera , a raksha bandhan gift from my brother . Just wanted a chance to play around and need to practice a lot . Thank you so much bro I am loving it .
What is the classic caprese salad made of –
Classic caprese means tomatoes , basil , fresh mozzarella , olive oil , sometimes balsamic vinegar and seasoned with salt and pepper.
What have I done different
I have added avocados to the classic making it utterly butterly delicious and taking the health factor a notch up.
Added romaine lettuce to make more filling salad .
Added balsamic reduction which is super simple to make giving the salad a bit of sweetness and tang making it more exciting .
Used coarse sea salt instead of normal salt.
The medley of colors , textures and flavors makes this salad very desirable and tempting.
I made this salad twice this week , day 1 – avocado caprese salad as a side with our meal.
and day 2 – topped on a bruschetta for a dinner party .
As you know how crazy it gets when you host a party ,I barely managed to click bruschetta picture , this is the second serving without avocados.
But you will get an idea how easy it is to add one more fancy option to your menu which hardly requires any time to whip up.
Make ahead of time –
Best part is that you can make the balsamic reduction upto 3-4 days ahead of time , cut mozzarella and tomatoes a day prior and all you have to do is mix everything and season. Can’t get much easier right.
How to make balsamic reduction
Balsamic reduction is nothing but reducing balsamic vinegar combining with sugar or honey until it thickens.
It adds a lot of flavor to this salad , do try it.
for this recipe –
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoon sugar/honey ( optional ) – this time I didn’t add sugar as somehow the brand of balsamic vinegar I have used is sweet enough after reduction.
In a small saucepan heat up balsamic vinegar and sugar on low medium heat, stirring occasionally . Let it reduce 6-8 minutes until it thickens. It will thicken further as it cools. If it happens to be too thick after cooling , just add in a teaspoon or two more balsamic or water to it for desired drizzle consistency.
Leftover balsamic can be stored in the refrigerator for weeks . Just thin it a bit when using.
I love to try my hands on different brands and types of olive oils and vinegar everytime.
This time I have used private selection California olive oil and private selection balsamic vinegar of Modena.
caprese antipasto- avocado caprese salad
- 1 head romaine lettuce
- ½ cup cherry/ grape tomatoes
- 1 small avocado chopped into chunks
- ¼ cup or more extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup chopped fresh mozzarella
- Handful of fresh basil
- Coarse sea salt *
- Pepper to taste
- ¼ cup balsamic reduction recipe mentioned above
Cut the very bottom of romaine lettuce , separate the leaves and wash well.
Chop the leaves roughly. Use a salad spinner if you have.
Chop the grape tomatoes in half.
Chiffonade the basil .
In a large bowl , mix the lettuce , avocados , tomatoes , mozzarella.
Just before serving add in the olive oil , salt and pepper . Mix well.
Drizzle roughly with balsamic reduction.
Top it with finely chopped basil .
Adjust the oil and vinegar to your
sub regular salt for sea salt.
please refer to possible substitution mentioned below.
caprese antipasto 2 ways - bruschetta
- 1 long crusted french loaf cut into ¼ “ slices
- 2 cloves of grated garlic / ½ tsp garlic powder plus 3 tbsp olive oil approx. to brush the sliced loaf
- ½ cup chopped cherry/ grape / vine tomatoes
- ½ cup cubed fresh mozzarella
- 1 small avocado cubed optional
- Handful of finely chopped / chiffonade basil
- ¼ or more cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup balsamic reduction
- 1 teaspoon mixed dried Italian herbs optional
- Red chilly flakes optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium size bowl add in the tomatoes , mozzarella , some basil , avocados , salt , pepper , herbs , olive oil.
Let them marinade for at least 15-20 minutes.
Pre heat your oven to 400 degree f / 200 deg c
Lightly brush / rub the garlic olive oil to both sides of each slice of French loaf .
Bake for 5-6 minutes until bit golden brown .
Alternately you can broil the bread slices for 2-3 minutes by placing the baking dish on top rack , until golden brown , flipping them half way.
You can also grill the breads or arrange them on a non-stick skillet and crisp them on both sides.
Take them out of the oven . Top them with marinated mixture and drizzle the balsamic reduction. And top it with more fresh basil.
Fresh mozzarella whole – this mozzarella is not same as regular mozzarella, the one we use for pizzas or string mozzarella it’s different – sub with baby mozzarella balls / fresh paneer cubes ( believe me it tastes great )
Grape/ cherry tomatoes – sub with good quality sweet tomatoes slices or chopped.
Basil – no exact substitution , adds great flavor if fresh basil is used . If fresh basil isn’t available you can use dry ones or desired Italian herbs.
Balsamic – you can skip if unavailable but I strongly recommend . If you skip sub it with some lemon juice mixed with sugar/ honey . 2 tablespoon lemon juice with 1 teaspoon sugar / honey for this recipe or more. This substitution isn’t as great as balsamic vinegar but works .
Avocados – skip if you don’ t have , just keep it classic . Roasted butternut squash is a great addition too.
Romaine Lettuce – Skip and go classic or for salad you can add other greens .
Hope you like this recipe and do give it a try. I would love to hear from you. If you have tried any of my recipes make sure you click pictures of your hard work and do drop in a feedback below and pictures on my Facebook page carveyourcraving in messages section. You can follow me on Pinterest too.
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