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Grilled Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella Salad (Caprese Salad Recipe)

Serves 8     adjust servings

This is my new favorite salad! Grilled Tomato, Basil, & Mozzarella Salad is basically a Caprese salad recipe, but even better because we are grilling the tomatoes and ciabatta for the ultimate flavor punch. A creamy basil-lemon dressing tops it off! Hooray for summer food! Hooray for bread in salad! Because we all know that's the best part. 

Ingredients

For the dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed with a knife
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 large bunch basil

For the salad

  • 1 large head romaine, rinsed, dried, and chopped
  • 12-16 ounces ciabatta bread
  • soft butter, for ciabatta
  • grilling skewers (metal or wood)
  • 2 dry pints cherry tomatoes, any color
  • 12 ounce tub marinated mozzarella balls
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced thin

Instructions

  1.  If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for about 30 minutes so they don't burn to charcoal on the grill. Metal skewers work great too.
  2. Prepare the dressing: In a blender, add 1 cup mayonnaise, 2/3 cup buttermilk, zest of 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 small clove garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, and all the basil in the world. Just kidding, one bunch will do. Honestly you can add as much or as little as you want. I like tons. 
  3. Blend it up until smooth and then transfer to a mason jar or dressing dispenser. The dressing makes a little over 2 cups.
  4. Preheat your grill to medium heat.
  5. Prepare the romaine lettuce. I love to wash lettuce in a salad spinner so that it is really dry by the time I eat it. (It makes the salad dressing coat better.) Get it all dry, and chop into bite size pieces. Add all the salad to a large serving bowl.
  6. Split the ciabatta in half lengthwise. Spread the cut side with a generous amount of soft butter. Set aside.
  7. Spear all of the tomatoes on several skewers. Leave about 1/4 inch of space in between each tomato so that the edges can get crisp. Place the skewers on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil, then add salt and pepper. (I like to use the oil from the tub of mozzarella balls) Rub the oil on the tomatoes with your hands.
  8. Oil your grill so that the food doesn't stick. Line up the skewers on the grill with a little space in between each one so they have room to get crisp. If there is room, add the ciabatta on the grill as well, cut side down. (If you can't fit it just do it in batches.)
  9. Grill the tomatoes and bread for about 2 minutes. Remove the bread once it is charred on the edges. Keep an eye on it! Leave the tomatoes in a little longer (1-3 more minutes) until they are looking nice and charred on the edges.
  10. Remove from the grill. Chop the ciabatta into bite-size pieces. Add tomatoes and ciabatta to the bowl of romaine.
  11. Add 1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced into thin strips. Add the drained mozzarella balls (save the oil for marinating meat!) 
  12. Toss everything together and dress with as much of the basil dressing as you like (you won't need all of it!)
  13. Serve immediately! If you don't think you will eat it all right away, leave out some of the bread and tomatoes and store separately until you want to make a new salad.

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