Monday, August 24, 2009

Caprese, Mole

Since I put in the upside down tomato planter I have been working on this idea in my head. Something simple and elegant like a traditional Caprese Salad but with a twist. The traditional Caprese Salad would have Fresh Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, Basil (whole leaf or chiffinade, depending on your taste) and this would all be drizzled with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar maybe Fresh cracked pepper. I love Caprese Salad for a summer appetizer or light snack, it looks beautiful and the flavors are wonderful together.

As wonderful as it is I think that everybody has had a Caprese Salad... I wanted something a little different. I went to one of my favorite cuisines for inspiration this one is this one is Fresh Roma Tomatoes from my "Garden" I sliced a couple up and layered them with Queso Fresca, and drizzled it with a Mole Vinaigrette that I put together and chilled.

Every thing on here is pretty self explanatory except for the Mole Vinaigrette. The tomatoes were sliced about a quarter inch thick as was the Queso Fresca. I have to explain something here, I think that everyone should make a Mole sauce from scratch, it is a wonderful experience and a really well made Mole sauce is wonderful and has a depth of flavor that is hard to describe. It also takes hours... The first time I made a scratch Mole Sauce I was working at a little Southwest restaurant, a lot of nights I would start prepping my Saturday special on Friday as things started to wind down. That night I was looking at the recipe that the owner gave me, it clearly said prep time 3-3 1/2 hours. I did not believe it, "how could that be?" I said to myself "that must include time to grind stuff on rocks or something,"and I started pulling the 27 ingredients together. So at about 11:00 as my last guests were enjoying their house made Churros and Flan I started soaking Ancho Chilies in water, breaking down Dark Chocolate, toasting Sesame Seeds and so on, here is a recipe from Epicurious if you want to go that route. The thing that I want to note here is that at 3:20 am I put my 6 cups of Mole Sauce into the cooler and immediately pored myself a 16 oz carry out cup of leftover margaritas for the trip home.

I mentioned recently that being summer and living with wonderfully active kids I don't have time to mix flour and fat for a pie crust let alone spend half of a day shopping for and then preparing a sauce for an appetizer. I went to the Mexican grocery store in my neighborhood and picked up a jar of Dona Maria it has always been a favorite of mine, it is simple to prepare and has that wonderful flavor that Mole should.

The Vinaigrette that I made has
1 cup of Mole Sauce (following the directions)
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar

I put that into a blender and mixed until smooth, I let this set until it was room temperature and then drizzled a little on the salads.

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