When my parents had their 20th wedding anniversary, they sent me and my siblings to “Grammy camp” and went on a romantic getaway to Italy. After their trip was over, our kitchen was frequented by balsamic vinegar, olive oil, tomatoes, basil, and long crispy baguettes. My parents raved about caprese salad and whenever we had French bread with our meals, there was a mixture of olive oil and Italian herb blends for dipping.
When I went off to college, I discovered the divine potency of fresh herbs (aside from basil, I had previously only used dried herbs). I would buy Kroger’s “poultry herb blend” and go to town with fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme. And when I started my lovely little potted herb garden this year, I became even more delighted with the extreme freshness. I remember the first time I cut into my rosemary plant, I felt the natural oils seeping out into my hand and about did a little jig on my back porch. What can I say? I’m hopelessly hooked!
Caprese salad is usually comprised of sliced rounds of tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, but I am much more prone to want to scoop up my tomato goodness with a pita chip or place on some crispy French bread. So the past several times I’ve made it, I’ve found that I really prefer the diced method rather than the traditional caprese salad.
Herb Infused Olive Oil
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
cuttings of various fresh herbs, finely chopped (My go-to herbs are rosemary, thyme, and sage, but I’ve recently started adding oregano in too!)
1 clove garlic, minced
salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Add all ingredients to the extra virgin olive oil and stir. Allow the mixture a few minutes to rest, giving the ingredients’ flavors a chance to mingle. Stir again before serving.
Can be served with baguettes or any other bread, pita chips, Triscuits, etc. Enjoy!
Caprese Salad Dip
1 medium to large tomato, diced
2 oz fresh mozzarella, diced
3-4 basil leaves, chopped
a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme, chopped (optional, but I highly recommend it!)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Combine tomato, mozzarella, and fresh herbs. Pour olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the mixture, stir. Add sea salt and black pepper, stir. Allow the mixture to rest for a few minutes before serving.
Serve over baguettes, pita chips, Triscuits, etc.