Posted by Stephanie Simpson on
It was an accident - I swear!
After passing along an armful of recipes for childhood-inspired chilly treats, I intended to retire the nostalgia for a while. There’s only so much reminiscing you can take before you just feel, well, old. (Example: Remember when beanie babies were all the rage? Yeah, that began 18 years ago.)
So I was going to share that standout, sentiment-free Italian classic made by layering fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil and drizzling the lot with extra virgin olive oil and salt: Caprese salad. I thought I was safe.
But then I came across these:
Correction: Caprese salad s’mores. That is, fresh mozzarella roasted marshmallow-style until gooey and golden, topped with fresh basil and tomato (sundried tomatoes are amazing here!), all sandwiched between garlic-rubbed slices of grilled baguette.
All thoughts about age-appropriateness were out the window. Actually, any thought that wasn’t a zombie-like “Must make. Must share.” wasn’t getting a ton of airtime. And rightfully so!
With an ingredients list so spartan, I’d recommend getting the best ingredients you can manage. And if you only go big on one thing, make it the cheese and choose buffalo mozzarella. Made from the milk of water buffaloes, this mozzarella is twice the price of the fresh cows milk alternative, but about 10 times as tasty. That, I think, is what’s called a good deal.
And no worries if you don’t have a grill! You can replicate the results by using the grilled cheese sandwich method or by topping a piece of toasted baguette with an even layer of cheese, blasting it under the broiler just to melt the mozzarella, and then topping it all off with the tomato, basil and other slice of toast. Sure, making a sandwich isn’t quite as fun as a sandwich-s’more (s’morewich?), but the flavour combination - particularly when you use sundried tomatoes - is one I think you’ll happily come back to long after the next beanie-baby-equivalent has lost its flavour.
Caprese Salad S’mores
Adapted from Epicurious
Makes 8 s’mores
16 thin slices of baguette, toasted and, optionally, rubbed with a cut clove of garlic (see this post for tips!)
8-16 pieces of small bocconcini or 4-5 oz fresh mozzarella cut into 8 equal-sized pieces (the amount you’ll need will depend on the size of your baguette and your love of cheese)
8 medium basil leaves
8 sundried tomato halves* or slices of fresh tomato
1. Remove upper grate of your barbeque (preferably charcoal) and preheat the grill until it’s super-hot. Rake embers** into the centre of the grill. Spear 1-2 pieces of cheese with a roasting stick or water-soaked wooden skewer and carefully roast over fire until cheese begins to brown and melt, 2ish minutes. Remove cheese from the flame, assemble your s’more (toasts on the outside; tomato, basil and cheese on the inside), and eat it as soon as the cheese is no longer molten!
*Oil-packed tomatoes should be drained before use (no one wants a soggy s’more!), while dried tomatoes should be rehydrated in freshly-boiled water until tender (may take up to an hour, depending on the dryness of your tomatoes), drained and tossed in a bit of olive oil.
**By the time we got to grilling the cheese, the charcoal wasn’t hot enough to turn it bubbly and brown. Next time, we’ll get our roast on before the flames go out.