Twisted Tuesday: Goat Cheese and Beet “Caprese” Salad

IMG_8153

I just love Caprese salad.  And even though I know it’s frowned upon, I love to drizzle it in sweet, aged balsamic vinegar.  A true Caprese salad is made from vine ripened tomatoes that are red and juicy, fresh and moist mozzarella (preferably buffalo mozzarella, but since it’s so expensive, the more popular is cow’s milk mozzarella), and fresh green basil…all drizzled in a high quality olive oil, and seasoned with salt and fresh ground pepper.  The Island of Capri’s population would be horrified at the thought of ruining what are three beautiful and absolutely perfect ingredients with a drizzle of balsamic, and because they believe that the vinegar will break down the delicate cheese. 

Well, I’m not horrified, and I think that the delicate cheese is much stronger than they think. I like it.

The Caprese salad was actually created in the 1950’s at the Trattoria da Vincenzo (A restaurant in Capri) for it’s regulars who would request a fresh tomato and possibly fresh treccia cheese (similar to mozzarella, but drier) salad.

As I was researching the origin of the Caprese salad, I read that Capri’s name could have originated from capra, meaning goat.  The very first thought that came to mind was, if the Caprese salad was created by someone on the Island of Capri, whose name could have originated from the word “goat”, then why is it that the Caprese salad is made with Buffalo Mozzarella, rather than goat cheese?

IMG_8138

And that made me think that I should “twist” the Caprese salad, using goat cheese. I wanted to keep the colors the same, and knowing that beets and goat cheese are madly in love with each other in other salads, I decided to use fresh beets.  I wanted to keep the basil, just because I love it..but thought to add pistachio to add a nutty crunch.  Oranges complement beets beautifully, so blood orange olive oil would be a lovely addition.  It was.  And… to finish it off the way I think it was made to be finished off… 18 year old balsamic vinegar.

IMG_8148

Well, talk about a million flavors popping with every bite.  The sweet beets; the blood orange, the tangy sweet Balsamic, the sharp tang of the goat cheese, the nutty pistachios, and the fragrant basil… I found myself grabbing a slice of Italian bread, and sopping up the beet juice that mingled with the olive oil and vinegar that was left on the plate.  I would definitely make it again… and again….

While I truly love the original, this is an excellent “twist” for the winter months!

IMG_8154

Goat Cheese and Beet “Caprese” Salad 

Serves Two

Just a quick note:  I think that store bought pickled beets would work just as nicely, and would put this salad into the quick and easy category.  I mean, it already is quick and easy, but it does take about 40 minutes or so to cook the beets.

IMG_8143

If you cannot find blood orange olive oil, you can add a teaspoon of fresh orange juice to a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  Or, you can buy them online here.  (No, they’re not paying me to say that!  I just like them.)

I wanted to share my basil story with you.  The temps were below zero today, and with the wind chills, I think we hit somewhere around -21 degrees.  I ran to the store at lunch to grab some basil and fresh beets.  I knew that the beets would be just fine in the car while I was at work, but I worried for the basil.  I had the cashier double bag the basil for me, and thought that it would be safest inside with me.  So I tucked it under my arm, and then ran inside.  And then did the same when I left work at 4:30pm.   Even though I tried to protect it, the basil just could not handle the cold.  This is what a couple of minutes did to my basil…wilted and black leaves.

IMG_8139

Ingredients:
4 beets, cooked and sliced into 1/4” slices
4 oz goat cheese, slice 1/4” slices
Chiffonade of fresh basil leaves
About 2 tbsp pistachios, chopped
Blood Orange olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Fresh ground black pepper

The beets are easy to prepare.  Carefully wash them under water.  Remove the greens, and trim the root.  Place in a pan of cold water on medium heat, and bring to a boil.  Boil for about 40 minutes, or until tender. You can saute the greens in a little olive oil and garlic, but you won’t use them for this recipe.

Arrange the beets and goat cheese on the plate, alternating, and in any design you’d like.  Top with chiffonade of basil, and chopped pistachios. Drizzle with blood orange olive oil and balsamic vinegar (You can go as light or heavy as you prefer. I tend to go a little heavy with the vinegar). Sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper.

Enjoy!
IMG_8145

Advertisements

42 thoughts on “Twisted Tuesday: Goat Cheese and Beet “Caprese” Salad

  1. Very beautiful salad, and I would make it in a hear beat, if my husband was not the anti-beet guy he is. That is ONE ingredient that no matter how I prepare, he won’t fall in love with. Of course, I could always make a traditional Caprese for him and enjoy your amazing concoction myself! 😉

    • You know at first, when the beets started to bleed over the white cheese, I was ready to pull it all apart and start again. But then I really “looked” at it, and realized that the pink of the beets on the white of the cheese was really pretty. I just let it be….do it’s natural thing. I’m glad I did! 🙂

  2. Love all the ingredients you’ve added to this salad, and the fact that you used the traditional 18 year old balsamic vinegar. Omg I wish I was your neighbour, I could taste it. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Love this Prudy. We are humongous beet people! Seriously…I buy 3-4 beets every week and bake them and we add them here and there for lunches and dinners! I adore goat cheese and beet salads so I know this one has to be spot on. Everything about it is perfect. Talent’s favorite food right now is caprese salad so I think I put your spin on it for him! Can’t believe the poor basil plant!! Can’t believe how cold it is there! xx

    • If you make it, let me know how you like it, Seana! I have to admit, we don’t eat beets as much as we should. I’m going to try to be more aware of that.
      I know, right? I’m not kidding…that basil plant was outside for about two minutes tops. And I had it wrapped, so the leaves didn’t even touch the air! xx

  4. I love dishes that are simple enough to whip up on a weekday and still spectacular enough to serve at a dinner party. Great dish!

  5. I’m only just convincing my tastebuds to like beetroot, which is really annoying because I love the shape of them and the vibrancy of their colouring. This sounds pretty delicious though, I may give it a try.
    Also, blood orange olive oil? Sounds amazing!

  6. Not sure all the Italians would agree with me (we are very proud of our traditional recipes and some of us do not like changes) but that’s creativity! I have never heard of blood orange olive oil. I’ll start looking for it. I must try it!!!!

    • Thank you! Yes, that blood orange olive oil is officially a staple in my pantry now. I wasn’t sure how I was going to like it, but WOW! It’s a beautiful thing, a subtle citrus flavor. Thank you so much for stopping by..I’m so glad you did! 🙂

    • Oh, you and me both.. there is something about the basil, fresh mozzarella, and tomato trio that just brings pure comfort. Honestly, I think it’s the basil. The smell of basil immediately puts me in that happy place.. Thanks so much for stopping by, I’m so happy you did! 🙂

  7. This salad looks delicious! I’ve just recently discovered beets, and quickly paired them with goat cheese, cause goat cheese is the best, but had not thought of adding a hint of citrus to that. Will definitely need to give this one a try.

    • You know, beets are one of those vegetables that I tend to forget about. I don’t know why, because I really do love them. Yes, most definitely add some orange to the beets and goat cheese..they all get along so well!! Let me know if you do, and how you like it! Thanks so much for stopping by, I’m so glad you did.. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s