Recipe by Nancy Johnson; Wine Commentary by Gary Twining.
At the height of tomato season in late summer, Caprese is one of the tastiest salads around. Sadly, in winter, tomatoes lose their flavor. However, it’s still possible to offer a taste of summer in December by using sweet cherry tomatoes and store-bought or homemade balsamic glaze.
1 cup balsamic vinegar (or store-bought balsamic glaze)
8 ounces fresh ciliegine mozzarella balls (cherry-sized mozzarella balls)
1 pint good-quality cherry tomatoes
1 bunch fresh basil, stems removed and leaves cut in half
In a medium saucepan, cook 1 cup balsamic vinegar over low heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Slide a cherry tomato onto a skewer. Fold basil in half and slide onto skewer. Add mozzarella ball. Repeat. Drizzle with balsamic reduction. Serves 6 to 8.
Gary: The reduction of the balsamic requires a wine with firm acidity to stand up to the vinegar, cleanse the palate of the mozzarella and bring out the nuances of the basil. Either a red or white will work. Try an Italian Barbera or Chianti or a white such as Lugana or Soave. Argentina’s Torrontes would enhance the basil notes of the appetizer. This would be a nice dish to pair with a crisp, softly-dry sparkler such as Prosecco.