When it comes to a Caprese salad, you may think the combination of juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, fresh basil, and balsamic glaze can't be beaten—but think again. Replacing the tomato with refreshing watermelon creates an unexpected twist that is sweet and tangy at the same time. The crunchy texture of the watermelon is a nice counterpoint to the soft cheese, and the basil adds an herby spiciness while rich balsamic syrup brings out the best flavors of both the watermelon and the mozzarella.
This salad is very simple to put together with a minute's notice, making it a great dish for dinner parties or as a refreshing party appetizer.
- In a small pot, bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil. Continue to boil until it has reduced to about 1/2 cup and has a syrup-like consistency. Set aside and allow to completely cool.
- In a large bowl, gently toss together the watermelon, mozzarella, and basil.
- Put servings of the salad onto chilled plates. Drizzle with the cooled balsamic syrup.
- Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top of each salad and serve.
Tips and Variations
If you have time beforehand, you can make the balsamic syrup ahead and refrigerate it for later. You may want to bring it to room temperature before drizzling over the salad. If you would rather skip the step of boiling down the vinegar until thick, and are willing to spend the money, you can purchase a very high-quality balsamic vinegar, which will have a naturally sweet flavor and thick consistency. You may also be able to find a bottled balsamic glaze that is more affordable.
The small-sized mozzarella balls—called bocconcini—are ideal for this salad, and are even better if you create melon balls with the watermelon; the salad will be visually appealing and easy to eat. If you are using the larger size mozzarella balls, however, first cut them into bite-size pieces before adding to the fruit and herb. You can also buy a large piece of mozzarella cheese and cut into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Then layer the cheese with the watermelon and basil on a platter and drizzle with the balsamic glaze.
Watermelon Cutting Tips
Cutting a watermelon into cubes can leave your countertop covered in watermelon juice, and can take a bit of time, but with this tip, you can cut down on the mess and have your watermelon pieces in no time. First, have a large cutting board, sharp knife, and large bowl ready. If you are working with a whole or half of watermelon, cut it into quarters. You are basically going to create a grid of watermelon pieces within the flesh. Take each quarter and cut the flesh into "strips," starting at one end and slicing every inch, making sure not to cut into the rind and only going down as far as the white part of the peel.
Then turn the watermelon quarter and slice in the other direction, again only to the white pith, creating approximately 1-inch pieces. Now slice, following the curve of the watermelon, between the red flesh and the white pith, from one end to the other going underneath the entire quarter. Turn over to allow the pieces to fall into a bowl. Keep in mind that the pieces will not all be cubes.
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Total Fat||18 g|
|Saturated Fat||11 g|
|Unsaturated Fat||5 g|
|Dietary Fiber||1 g|