Summertime, for me, always means Caprese salad. Sometimes I like to riff on the recipe a bit and try something new...but for the most part, nothing showcases the beauty and deliciousness of tomatoes like this classic salad.
For a month or so, I have been obsessed with a version that I had at The Globe, one of my favorite restaurants here in Atlanta. The addition of watermelon to the salad was revelatory to me. Also, their version has tiny melon ball scoops of a creamy basil sorbet added to it instead of the traditional basil leaves. The combination of textures and the refreshing basil ice cream was mind blowing to me. I've been remaking this dish in my head ever since.
I don't make ice cream enough to warrant having, so I made do by making a basil granita. Throwing it together was terribly easy - a quick puree of fresh basil, some sugar, and water. It is such a unique twist to this dish. As the granita melts, it naturally dresses the dish with its own "dressing". You can add the balsamic and olive oil to the salad, as well. Another interesting idea would be to make a basil-balsamic granita - your dressing and the granita all in one!
Tomato-Watermelon Caprese with Basil Granita - serves 4 as side dish
For basil granita:
- one small bunch fresh basil - washed, dried and de-stemmed
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 16 ounces cold water
- Add all ingredients to blender and puree on high until fully combined and there are no large pieces of basil remaining. Pour liquid into glass/non-reactive shallow baking dish and place in freezer. Periodically check on mixture and fork to loosen as it freezes - every 30 minutes or so - until it reaches desired consistency.
- 8 oz. container of mozzarella bocconcini
- 2 cups watermelon pieces scooped with melon baller
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- course salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- extra virgin olive oil & balsamic vinegar, optional
- Mix all ingredients together save for the optional olive oil and vinegar. Before serving, top salad with melon ball scoops of basil granita. If dressing the salad, do so at the very end for presentations sake.