Raise your hand if you're mourning the end of summer. I know I am. I love everything about summer - the warmth, the sun setting later, the pool, the beach, kids playing in the backyard before bed. I'm not one of those people who looks forward to fall with its cooler temps, sweaters and boots. Give me t-shirts and flip flops any day.
But, alas, summer is winding down. The good news is, this is the time when Jersey tomatoes are still at their best and there's no better way to showcase them than in caprese salad. I'm not usually one to mess with perfection. Caprese, with its creamy fresh mozzarella and red ripe tomatoes sprinkled with basil is my idea of a perfect summer meal. I love to eat it plain or tossed with pasta.
Then I saw this recipe for Caprese Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing. I was skeptical at first. Bacon on caprese? With red wine vinegar? Admittedly, I'm not a fan of balsamic on caprese, so I was hesitant to try this. But I'm so glad I did. We had this with my parents for Labor Day dinner and we were fighting over it. The crispy bacon is the perfect contrast to the mozzarella and tomatoes and the warm dressing, with just the right amount of tang from the red wine vinegar, is addictive.
Caprese Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing
As seen on Fake Ginger, adapted from Southern Living
2 1/2 pound beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch slices
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, finely minced
6 thick bacon slices, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Arrange the tomatoes and mozzarella on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the minced basil.
Saute the bacon pieces in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove the bacon pieces to a paper towel-lined plate. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat to a small bowl. Let stand for 1 minute, then whisk in the vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add the bacon pieces to the dressing and stir to combine. Drizzle the dressing over the salad right before serving.