Karlo’s Meets Caprese

We were lucky enough to have friends visiting this weekend and when we have friends in town, it usually means we eat out a lot. Who doesn’t when friends are in town? Today, we tried a new barbeque place we’d never been to for lunch … but I digress. The point of this is that by dinner time, we were still pretty full.

We stopped by Kroger and I was planning on picking up a few other items while he shopped for my mystery ingredients. When we walked in the door – he filled me in on the challenge. Joe’s challenge was for me to make a salad with my own twist. We wanted something that would be tasty but light. and he set a timer on his phone and gave me 10 minutes to come up with whatever I wanted AND do the shopping.

I decided to make a mash up of my two favorite salads, both of which are inspired by italian cuisine. The first is a simple Caprese salad. The second was a salad I made in an Italian cooking class at Karlo’s Bistro Italian restuarant that had proscuttio and portabello in it and was served warm. Unfortunately, that is all I remember about the salad! Here are the ingredients I used for today’s salad: arugula, basil, prosciutto, cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, portabello mushrooms, red cooking wine, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

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First, I rinsed the arugula, which is my favorite salad base (also tasty on pizza and sandwiches). And yes, it is in a colander. A salad spinner is going on my Christmas list.

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I chopped the prosciutto.

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And chopped the portabello mushrooms.

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I put these into a skillet with a drizzle of olive oil, a finely chopped sprig of basil, a half of a teaspoon of garlic powder, and a half a cup of red cooking wine. I let this cook while I worked on the other salad prep.

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I halved cherry tomatoes and cut the fresh mozzarella into bite sized pieces. I feel confident in their “bite sized” status, as several bites made it into my mouth and not on the salad.

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Last, I added balsamic vinegar to the mixture of and made sure it was heated through. I poured the hot mushroom and prosciutto mixture onto the salad and mixed it well. The mixture serves as a dressing and the warmth slightly makes the mozzarella gooey. This was a light and healthy meal, but still filling with the goodies (goodies = prosciutto, mozzarella, and portabello). I also like that it is served warm, which I think tastes better in the fall or winter than a cold salad. Every bite had goodies in it. We both agreed that it was not my most creative dish, but we both loved it.

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