Why I love this recipe
Caprese salad has always been one of my favorite salads to make whether at home with my family or at a gathering with friends.
It is one of those salads that’s a little bit extra, a little bit fancy, but so incredibly easy. It can be made at any time of the year, but it’s obviously at it’s best when shaped into a candy cane! Have some fun with your food this holiday season – I know I will!
- Tomatoes – It’s best to use a large tomato like a beefsteak or heirloom tomato. These tomatoes have a lower water content and if firm, will keep you from having a watery, soggy mess on your platter. They are also proportional to the mozzarella making for a perfectly sized candy cane!
- Mozzarella – You will want to use a fresh ball of mozzarella for this recipe. You may find it packed in water. I’d recommend staying away from burrata mozzarella as it’s a much wetter version of mozzarella that will lose it’s shape once sliced, making for a messy looking candy cane.
- Balsamic glaze – It’s important to use a balsamic glaze rather than balsamic vinegar. The balsamic glaze has a thicker texture that will drizzle nicely over the caprese candy cane while a vinegar would simply pool underneath the salad.
Follow these easy steps to make this delicious candy cane caprese salad this Christmas!
- Slice the mozzarella into 1/2 inch thick slices.
- Slice your tomatoes into the same thickness as your mozzarella.
- Assemble mozzarella and tomato slices on a large platter in the shape of a candy cane, alternating between the mozzarella and tomato slices. Be sure to look at the picture at the top of the recipe for inspiration.
- Sprinkle salt over the tomatoes and mozzarella and drizzle with olive oil.
- Sprinkle basil leaves around the caprese candy cane on the platter. Don’t be shy with the basil – the hint of green with the red of the tomato is perfect for Christmas! Pour 1/2 cup of balsamic glaze into a small bowl with a spoon and place on the platter next to the caprese candy cane. This will allow your guests to add as much glaze as they prefer. Add toasted baguette slices around the board for a tasty pairing.
- Serve immediately!
- Do not cut your tomatoes or mozzarella too thinly. You want people to be able to use a fork to pick each slice up and if they are too thin, they lose their structure.
- If you would prefer to dress the salad yourself, you can absolutely do so. Just know that the candy cane may not shine through as much if covered in the balsamic glaze. Plus it’s always nice to give your guests the option of using extra of an ingredient or skipping it entirely.
Absolutely! Most of the ingredients in this salad are naturally gluten-free. You can simply omit the baguette or buy a gluten-free version to make this a gluten-free treat. Most balsamic glazes are naturally gluten-free, but it’s always good to check the label to be safe.
This salad is best when served immediately, however, you could make it a few hours ahead of time and store in sealed container in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. The bread will always be best straight out of the oven. If you do have leftovers, they will be fine to eat the next day if stored properly in a sealed container in the refrigerator – the tomatoes just may be a little less crisp.
Candy Cane Caprese Salad
For the caprese candy cane:
- 3 beefsteak tomatoes
- 16 oz fresh mozzarella
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8-10 fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup balsamic glaze
For the baguette slices (optional):
- 1 french baguette
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
For the Caprese Salad:
- Cut tomatoes into slices about 1/2-inch in thickness.
- Cut mozzarella ball into slices of the same thickness as your tomato slices.
- Assemble mozzarella and tomato slices on a large platter in the shape of a candy cane, alternating between the mozzarella and tomato slices.
- Drizzle the candy cane with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Place basil leaves around the caprese candy cane on the platter.
- Pour 1/2 cup of balsamic glaze into a small bowl with a spoon and place on the platter next to the caprese candy cane.
- Serve with toasted bread (see instructions below) if you desire.
For the Baguette Slices (optional):
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Slice the baguette on the bias into slices about 3/4-inch thick.
- Place the slices on a baking sheet in a single layer.
- In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic powder, and dried oregano.
- Using a basting brush, coat each slice with the oil mixture.
- Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned and slightly crispy. Set aside to cool.