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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

TIP OF THE DAY: Caprese Sandwich

Caprese sandwich, a.k.a. Caprese salad
sandwich. Photo courtesy Hubbard Inn.

 

Our Seasonal Affective Disorder* kicked in last Saturday—and daylight savings time doesn’t end until November 4th!

But it’s not the diminishing daylight that has us bummed. It’s the end of summer tomato season. Those beautiful heirloom tomatoes, a high point of our culinary week, are gone.

Every Saturday, we’d hit the farmers market, bring home a few pounds of assorted heirlooms, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella, and mix and match the tomatoes in a series of Caprese salads.

As a transition to fall fare, we’ve switched to a Caprese Sandwich, such as this one from Chicago’s Hubbard Inn.

 

Now, cherry tomatoes substitute for thick slices of summer tomatoes. The classic green in a Caprese salad is fresh basil, but the Hubbard Inn substitutes arugula (most Americans don’t like a basil salad). We do a 75:25 blend of arugula and basil.

And Hubbard Inn customers like meat on their sandwich: The inn adds prosciuto de Parma (also called Parma ham).

Ingredients

  • Baby arugula, cleaned
  • Basil chiffonade†
  • Mozzarella or smoked mozzarella cheese
  • Cherry tomatoes or substitute (see below)
  • Italian bread: ciabatta, focaccia or other favorite
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • Optional: proscuitto di Parma
  •  
    Preparation

    1. Slice mozzarella, halve cherry tomatoes.

    2. Sprinkle bottom bread slice with oil and vinegar.

    3. Layer with ham, mozzarella, arugula, basil and tomatoes/tomato substitute (see below).

    For variety, try a Caprese Pasta Salad.
     
    SUBSTITUTES FOR FRESH TOMATOES

    Local summer tomatoes are a joy; they’re even more precious because the season is so sort. When regular tomatoes are not at their prime, here’s what we subsitute in salads and on sandwiches:

  • Cherry tomatoes or grape/pear tomatoes
  • Sundried tomatoes: freshly dried (still soft and tender), soaked in oil or puréed
  • Red bell pepper, diced or rings: blanched, raw or pickled (easy pickled vegetable recipe)
  • Roasted red peppers (pimentos—we buy them by the jar)
  •  
    Let us know your favorite variations on this idea.
     
    *Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs at a certain time of the year, usually in the winter. It is attributed to less sunshine and long winter nights.

    †Cut into long, thin strips.
     
      





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