So, while I was cleaning out the fridge last week, I found a forgotten ball of mozzarella in the cheese drawer. When does that ever happen? Who forgets about a ball of mozzarella? Typically you need to restrain me from eating the entire thing on the first day that it was purchased! It was like some kind of dream. (Yes, I dream of cheese.) After getting over my initial excitement, I figured hey – what better dish to make with a nice ball of mozzarella than a fresh caprese salad? But then I remembered that I’d promised myself to focus more closely on the current season – autumn. A bright, fresh caprese salad typically screams for summer – but does it have to? No. I made the answer to that question a “No”. By rolling the edges of the mozzarella slices in crushed walnuts and drizzling the dish with a dark pomegranate balsamic vinaigrette, the usual bright and light flavors of the caprese salad were replaced by darker, richer flavors. Oh, and using dark purple basil (which tastes exactly like green basil) helped darken the appearance.
Sometimes I get crazy ideas; sometimes those crazy ideas turn into triumphs. The crunchy texture of the walnuts was a great fit and the deep notes of pomegranate in the dark balsamic drizzle were just what I needed to execute this dish properly.
So, if you’re hosting a dinner party in the darker months but have a hankering for some refreshing flavors, this Autumn Caprese Salad with Walnut Crusted Mozzarella and Pomegranate Balsamic is a divine choice. Also it looks and sounds fancypants – but you don’t have to be a fancypants to put this together – you’ll just look the part!
Note* I purchase my Dark Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar at Isabella’s Fine Olive Oils and Vinegars in Mooresville, NC. If this is a flavor you can’t find easily, substitute it with another dark and fruit-infused balsamic vinegar.
Autumn Caprese Salad with Walnut Crusted Mozzarella and Pomegranate Balsamic
- 1 - 2 to matoes depending on size, sliced
- 1 ball of fresh mozzarella sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 4 large sprigs of purple basil + more to garnish
- 1/4 cup of crushed/chopped walnuts
- 1 tablespoon of EVOO
- 2 tablespoons of Dark Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar
- Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella and set aside.
- Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a small bowl and place the crushed walnuts onto a plate.
- With each slice of mozzarella, dip and turn the edges into the olive oil, and then dab and roll the edges into the crushed walnuts to crust the edges of the mozzarella.
- When ready to assemble the dish, the order I like to use is tomato, followed by mozzarella, followed by basil. Repeat until you've used everything.
- Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and garnish with some of the remaining basil.