Inspiration: Last August Brandon and I took an awesome week-long trip around Michigan visiting all of our local breweries, since we’re so lucky to live in a state with some of the best craft breweries in the nation. In between drinking beer (I think we hit 13 breweries/craft beer bars total), we hung out around all of the cities, did some random shopping and sightseeing, visited some parks, checked out a concert, and bought a great painting to hang above our sofa. One of the other little items that we ended up bringing home with us was a nice little bottle of cherry balsamic vinegar that we picked up in an olive oil and vinegar shop. It sat in the pantry all winter long until cherry season hit, and since then we’ve been enjoying it on all kinds of salads.
What We Loved: Both of us consider caprese to be the definition of a summer salad, and we enjoy it in its standard form quite often as a side dish or at restaurants. I didn’t think that it could be improved upon until I tried it this way. The subtle sweetness added to the dish (both in the form of the fresh cherries and the cherry balsamic vinegar) was really delightful. That sweet touch meshed perfectly with the juicy tomatoes, earthy basil, and creamy mozzarella. I used mozzarella that had been marinated in olive oil and Italian spices, so there were also some rich and herbal flavors added to the mix. With a touch of salt and pepper, the end result was a refreshing summer side dish and a great Michigan-inspired spin on traditional caprese.
Tips: After trying this salad, I think that other fruits would also be good in place of the cherries. Strawberry caprese or blueberry caprese both sound great for this time of year.
Source: Original Recipe
Grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Basil, sliced chiffonade style
Fresh mozzarella, sliced
Cherries, pitted and sliced
Kosher salt and black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Cherry balsamic vinegar
1. Place the tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and cherries in a bowl.
2. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and cherry balsamic vinegar.