In the summer, I could eat fresh garden tomatoes and mozzarella with a sprinkling of basil day after day. This Burrata Caprese Salad Recipe with Balsamic Pearls is a jazzed up version of my favorite fresh tomato salad.
Burrata Caprese Salad with Balsamic Pearls
With nothing close to a ripe garden tomato in the markets, I chose sweet cherry tomatoes on the vine to create this burrata caprese salad. Fresh mozzarella is usually my choice for a classic caprese, but burrata is an indulgent option. Burrata translates to “buttered” in Italian and is a shell of fresh mozzarella filled with cream and cheese curds. But the coolest thing about this salad are the balsamic pearls!
Tomato Mozzarella Salad
I was reminded of my failed attempt on making balsamic vinegar pearls when my friend, Juliana, of Color Your Recipes, posted her Balsamic Vinegar Caviar recipe. Since I still had a stash of agar-agar and an endless supply of balsamic, I figured it was worth another shot. And Juliana’s recipe was much more detailed than what I had used before. Whew, success! They made quite a statement on my tomato mozzarella salad!
How to Make Balsamic Pearls
First, it’s nice to know exactly what balsamic peals are! They’re basically gelled balsamic vinegar. Adding agar agar to balsamic vinegar helps solidify the liquid.
But there’s more to the process. First, your choice of oil must be chilled. Either vegetable or olive oil will work, but you may not want to use an expensive oil for these pearls. Set the oil in the freezer for 30 minutes to cool.you must heat the vinegar and add the agar agar. Let this mixture cool to 130 degrees.
Next, heat the balsamic and agar-agar to a boil, then let the mixture cool to 130 degrees.
Then comes the fun. Use a dropper to slowly drip the balsamic mixture into the oil. It will form pearls as it drops through the oil. Retrieve the pearls and use to garnish your salad. Keep any extras in the refrigerated.
Recipes Using Fresh Tomatoes:
- Easy Balsamic Chicken with Tomatoes by Life Tastes Good
- Savory Tomato Pie with Pre-Made Crust by The Foodie Affair
- Tuscan Pasta with White Beans and Tomatoes by A Mind “Full” Mom
- Caprese Garlic Bread with Arugula Pesto by The Crumby Cupcake
- Slow Roasted Tomatoes by Caroline’s Cooking
- Cherry Tomato and Preserved Lemon Salad by Shockingly Delicious
- Cupboard Tomato Mozzarella Salad by Food Lust People Love
- Summer Panzanella
- Caprese Salad with Chicken
- Homemade Pizza Margherita
- More Side Dish Recipes
For Balsamic Pearls:
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1.5 grams agar-agar, weigh with your kitchen scale
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (may use olive oil if desired)
- 11-ounce package of super sweet cherry tomatoes on the vine, sliced in half
- 4 ounces Burrata, sliced (centers will ooze, so don't expect beautiful slices)
- 8-ounce package of small fresh mozzarella balls (ciliegene)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Balsamic pearls (or balsamic vinegar if desired)
- Fresh basil and oregano, small leaves or chopped
- Kosher salt, to taste
- To make the balsamic pearls, pour the oil into a tall thin glass and place into the freezer for about 30 minutes to chill the oil.
- Place the balsamic vinegar in a small pan and sprinkle agar-agar over it. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the agar-agar. Remove from heat and let cool to 130 degrees (much colder and your mixture will gel. If this happens, just gently reheat.).
- Remove the cold oil from the freezer and keep it cold by placing it into a container filled with ice. Fill a syringe (I used a medicine dropper) with the warm balsamic and slowly drip it into the cold oil. As it falls through the oil, it will cool and gel. One drip will make small "caviar" like pearls. I made some of these and also did a quick double drop to make larger pearls.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the pearls from the oil and rinse with water. Store in the in a covered container in the refrigerator until needed.
- For each salad, place one or two slices of Burrata in the center of the plate, then add small mozzarella balls. Scatter tomatoes over the plate, followed by balsamic pearls and herbs. Sprinkle with kosher salt, then drizzle with olive oil.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 938Total Fat: 93gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 77gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 368mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 2gSugar: 16gProtein: 9g
Calorie count is including the vegetable oil used to make the pearls and is exaggerated.