Caprese salad with pomegranate and mint is a flavor explosion. The pomegranate molasses, like balsamic vinegar, lends a sweet-tart note to ripe tomatoes.
I figure it was because we had such a cold and unforgiving winter last year (polar vortex, lest we’ve forgotten), but when the leaves made a full appearance last spring, I felt nothing short of awe. Such “could this really be happening?”—a feeling inspired almost completely by the leaves on the trees.
In the face of such a gift, all one can do is accept. And appreciate, slow down and savor.
Same goes for tomato season this year. My mouth waters just writing that, because the tomatoes have been so full of flavor and juice and color up here in Michigan. I eat so many that I want to eat tomatoes with the tomatoes: big beefsteak slicers on the same platter with little sun gold cherries.
The tomatoes are so perfect, it seems almost wrong to do anything more to them. Almost. As in, I toss the cherry tomatoes, halved, with whole little balls of mozzarella. Spoon them on half the platter with the thick red slices at the other end. Salt and pepper liberally. Drizzle with great olive oil, all in the gentle minimalist approach of our Italian cousins, caprese-style.
The twist for this caprese salad with pomegranate and mint is I like to replace basil with mint from my garden—the mint-tomato pairing is my heaven. Also: balsamic vinegar with pomegranate molasses. I’m finding this very often is a beautiful exchange in recipes, pom for balsamic, with the deep, tart, semi-sweet flavor of pomegranate molasses very naturally gracing the same dishes balsamic does (how about pomegranate caramelized onions? I think so . . .).
Even before Labor Day showed up around here, the tree line was dotted with reds, oranges, yellows. No stopping them from going, but tomatoes are still here easing us through—out of—the softer season, and reminding me that, just like the leaves and the tomatoes, there will be another gentle gift of the next season to savor.
Caprese Salad with Pomegranate and Mint
This simple salad comes together quickly and always impresses. Pomegranate molasses acts like balsamic vinegar in this classic tomato mozzarella salad. The mint in place of classic basil is a fabulous flavor. Be sure to use very ripe, sweet tomatoes. In the off-season, use all cherry or grape tomatoes as those are typically the sweetest in the grocery store.
Slice the beefsteak tomatoes from the stem end in 1/2-inch rounds. Arrange these in overlapping rows on half of a beautiful platter. Combine the halved cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls on the other half of the platter.
Generously drizzle the olive oil and pomegranate molasses over the tomatoes and mozzarella. Dust with plenty of salt and pepper. Finish with the mint scattered on top of everything and serve immediately.