round and round – tomato & watermelon caprese with basil granita May 8, 2007

Caprese1

Summertime, for me, always means Caprese salad. Sometimes I like to riff on the recipe a bit and try something new…but for the most part, nothing showcases the beauty and deliciousness of tomatoes like this classic salad.

For a month or so, I have been obsessed with a version that I had at The Globe, one of my favorite restaurants here in Atlanta. The addition of watermelon to the salad was revelatory to me. Also, their version has tiny melon ball scoops of a creamy basil sorbet added to it instead of the traditional basil leaves. The combination of textures and the refreshing basil ice cream was mind blowing to me. I’ve been remaking this dish in my head ever since.

I don’t make ice cream enough to warrant having, so I made do by making a basil granita. Throwing it together was terribly easy – a quick puree of fresh basil, some sugar, and water. It is such a unique twist to this dish. As the granita melts, it naturally dresses the dish with its own "dressing". You can add the balsamic and olive oil to the salad, as well. Another interesting idea would be to make a basil-balsamic granita – your dressing and the granita all in one!

Caprese3

Tomato-Watermelon Caprese with Basil Granita – serves 4 as side dish

For basil granita:

  • one small bunch fresh basil – washed, dried and de-stemmed
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 16 ounces cold water

- Add all ingredients to blender and puree on high until fully combined and there are no large pieces of basil remaining. Pour liquid into glass/non-reactive shallow baking dish and place in freezer. Periodically check on mixture and fork to loosen as it freezes – every 30 minutes or so – until it reaches desired consistency.

For salad/assembly:

  • 8 oz. container of mozzarella bocconcini
  • 2 cups watermelon pieces scooped with melon baller
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • course salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil & balsamic vinegar, optional

- Mix all ingredients together save for the optional olive oil and vinegar. Before serving, top salad with melon ball scoops of basil granita. If dressing the salad, do so at the very end for presentations sake.

Comments

Tara May 8, 2007 07:05 pm

This salad looks delicious! I have been wanting to try caprese salad for a long time, but I don’t particularly like basil leaves. I mean, I love the taste of basil, but there is something about the whole leaves that I really am not partial to.
I have starred this recipe and will be trying it ASAP. Thanks for sharing it.

tami May 9, 2007 05:05 am

tara-
i’m glad this has inspired you :)
you know…you could also just do some basil oil to give you the flavor without the texture of the solid leaves. just another thought :)

Brilynn May 9, 2007 07:05 am

This combination of flavours sounds wonderful and I love the idea of the basil granita, that opens the door to a whole bunch of other granita-salad possibilities.

GadgetGeek2 May 9, 2007 12:05 pm

Very nice. Such good flavors kissing one another in one salad. The granita is a super summer idea.

Chris May 9, 2007 05:05 pm

This looks delicious. And -I love Globe! We just had a conversation about it the other day….deeelish!

peabody May 14, 2007 01:05 am

I’m allergic to tomatoes but I love the idea of the watermelon. Can’t wait to try it.

Caley May 14, 2007 02:05 pm

That’s brilliant and oh so pretty!

tami May 15, 2007 06:05 am

Chris-
We should have an Atlanta blogger get-together…

Christine May 15, 2007 10:05 pm

Wow, basil granita! And on the watermelon salad. That’s got to be the most refreshing salad ever.