Crispy potato caprese salad
Summer and my tomato garden means lots and lots of caprese salads. Tomato lovers understand this obsession: we wait all winter long, eyeing those horrid red cue balls (a.k.a, winter tomatoes) at the grocery store with equal measures of resentment and impatience.
Then July arrives, and we tomato growers stand before our home gardens, every day, shifting from foot to foot, scanning the leaf canopy for a sign — any sign — of red (or pink or orange or yellow).
That first caprese salad — tomatoes, fresh mozzarella (or burrata, if you’re feeling fancy), and basil (also picked from the garden) — is an experience, awaited with the same eagerness as 4th of July fireworks, and the first picnic al fresco.
As tomato season moves along, I like to change up my caprese salads, adding cucumbers, or quinoa, or pasta, or — my favorite — Castelvetrano olives. Caprese salads are daily meals at Casa Leaf + Grain, so mixing things up keeps boredom away (although, honestly, I’m not sure I could ever bore of caprese salads).
One day at lunch, with a few newly dug red potatoes in hand, gifted from a friend, I decided pan searing sounded awfully good (and quick), and, eyeballing my bowl of caprese salad, which I assembled lickety-split while the potatoes were cooking, I thought, why not?
My crispy, pan-seared tomatoes looked so pretty and flower-shaped on the plate (with edges overlapped, they clung together as they cooked), and I spooned my salad on top, drizzled a bit of balsamic over the whole works, and voila! Lunch!
The crispy, earthiness of the potatoes paired very, very well with the caprese salad. A totally delicious lunch that I’m delighted to share with you here.
So, when a tomato salad doesn’t sound like quite enough for you and the peeps, just add a quick layer of pan-seared potatoes. Definitely fit for a late summer’s Meatless Monday.
[On a side note, traffic to my blogs has reached the point where a service upgrade has become unavoidable. It's a good problem to have ;^) but there might be odd goings-on for the next week or so. This blog isn't going away, but it could down now and then. Crossed-fingers for smooth move!]
Crispy potato caprese salad
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 to 3 baby red or small Yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced
- variety of tomatoes, sliced into 1/2″ chunks (or, if using cherry tomatoes, quartered)
- fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- fresh basil, minced
- balsamic vinegar or balsamic dressing
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, until the oil shimmers. Lay the potato slices carefully in the hot oil, overlapping slightly.* Season with a pinch of salt, and cook the potatoes until they begin to brown on one side, then flip. Continue cooking until golden on the other side.
- Meanwhile, gently toss the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil in a medium mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- When the potatoes are cooked — they should be crisp and golden (a few browns spots are okay) &dmash; gently transfer half to one serving plate, and the remaining to the second serving plate. Blot away excess oil with a wadded paper towel, if necessary.
- Top the potatoes with the tomato salad. Drizzle the balsamic lightly over the whole works, and serve.
- *Overlapping the potato slices as shown in the pictures will encourage them to bond together in the pan, which can then be flipped as one big “plate” of potatoes. You can slide the potato mass onto a plate and top with your caprese salad for a lovely presentation. If you like this effect, and you’re cooking for two, consider using two separate skillets, cooking half of the potatoes in each pan.