And we’re back. I know the bugs appear to be fixed, but behind the scenes, a parade of tangled code is still making things blurry. At least the blog wheels are turning, and that’s more than I can say for those in my head which, after this technology go-around, nearly stopped.
And speaking of blurry, I only wish I had a coded excuse for what happened the other day – but I don’t. It was late afternoon and I was alone in the kitchen, putting away produce. Cucumbers here, tomatoes there, bananas in the bowl, onions and shallots over there. Done. Wearing a spit-spot Mary Poppins smile, I turned around and saw this:
And then I screamed like a banshee, and ran in circles and waved my arms and swore and just about died.
It took me a full 30 seconds (plus a few cautious paring knife pokes) to realize I was screaming at a shallot. With a tail. What can I say? I was up late the night before, my glasses were in my purse, and, well – I do have a rather well-documented thing about mice. Luckily this was a fake, a mirage created by my poor vision and, quite possibly, one sick-in-the-head shallot farmer.
Once I recovered, the thing had to go. I immediately chopped that squeaky shallot into a variation on Caprese Salad, substituting a savory, chunky berry dressing for traditional tomatoes. These are strong flavors, they are – wine vinegar, cracked pepper, charred shallots and juiced berries make for seriously tart bites between creamy mozzarella. Of course, you can add or reduce vinegar/pepper to scale the flavor up or down, but whatever you do, be vigilant: in shallot season, you just might need a vinaigrette trap.
Raspberry Basil Caprese
1 teaspoon olive oil
6 oz fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon honey
3 oz red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons roughly cracked or ground black pepper
dash sea salt
1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese
5 large basil leaves (4 for assembly, 1 to chop for garnish)
Make Raspberry-Shallot Dressing
Peel the shallot and slice thin, forming rings. Heat olive oil in small frying pan to hot, but not sizzling; add shallot rings and saute 1 – 2 minutes, until barely softened and edges are lightly charred. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place 4 oz of raspberries in medium mixing bowl, and save remaining 2 oz for garnish. Use a spatula to lightly press berries and release juices, leaving several whole and half berries in mix. Add honey, red wine vinegar, cracked pepper and cooked shallots. Gently stir with spatula to blend. Test flavor, and adjust to your taste with sea salt, or more pepper. Dressing can be made up to 24 hours before serving; flavors will intensify as it rests.
Assemble Raspberry Basil Caprese
Slice thick pieces of fresh mozzarella, 2 per person (8 slices to serve 4).
Lay one slice of mozzarella on plate. Top cheese with 1 teaspoon Raspberry-Shallot Dressing, then one large basil leaf. Lay second slice of mozzarella over the basil, and finish with another heaping teaspoon of dressing. Garnish plates with a few fresh raspberries, chopped basil, and a small extra splash of dressing, if desired.
Serves 4 as a first course.