Citrus Caprese Salad with Honey Vinaigrette ~ this is my winter riff on the classic caprese salad, with bright juicy citrus fruit standing in for the tomatoes.
Everybody’s mad for caprese salad, and it’s such a painful moment when you realize that you’ve had your last one of the summer. It’s a shame, too, because you can still get perfectly fresh basil all through the winter, and of course fresh mozzarella is everywhere now, so the only thing standing between you and your favorite salad are those luscious juicy tomatoes. But guess what we do have available to us right now in mid-winter? Luscious citrus! And citrus and tomato have a lot in common, too, they both have that great acidic juiciness, and tomatoes are technically a fruit, so I really am making sense here…stay with me… I think thick slices of grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, etc. make an obvious stand in for tomatoes in a classic caprese salad.
This is seasonal eating at its best. Gather whatever citrus you can find in your local market. In California we have all sorts…I’ve got pink grapefruit, a white grapefruit from my backyard tree, navel, Cara Cara (pink,) and blood oranges, and mandarins in my salad. You don’t have to use a variety, you could do this with all blood oranges, or if you can find giant pomelos, use them! Regular navel oranges will be great if that’s all you can find.
I slice each piece of fruit pretty thickly, about 1/2 an inch. Then I cut away the rind with a small serrated knife or kitchen shears, making SURE to remove any stray seeds. Biting down on a bitter citrus seed is not pleasant.
Then you can stack them with fresh mozzarella and basil on individual plates or in one big bowl, like I did. It makes a beautiful presentation. I like to leave the basil leaves whole, I think they look better, and this way they don’t bruise from being cut, or wilt as fast. I sliced up a big ball of fresh mozzarella but you can also use the little balls if you like them better.
I made a honey and white balsamic vinaigrette to drizzle over it all, and I must say it makes quite a sunny lunch for a dreary January afternoon.
This is do delightful you might just find yourself searching for fresh citrus fruit in August for your caprese salads!
- assorted citrus fruits...allow one piece of fruit per person, at least
- fresh basil leaves
- 1 8-oz ball of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- 3 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- pinch salt
- Slice the citrus fruit thickly, about 1/2 inch. Remove the peel with a small serrated knife or kitchen shears. Remove any seeds.
- Layer the fruit on individual plates or in a serving bowl or platter, alternating with the sliced cheese and basil leaves.
- Sprinkle everything with some salt and pepper, then drizzle with the dressing. Serve immediately.
- To make the dressing just shake or whisk the ingredients together. Taste to adjust.