Caprese salad is one of my favorite summertime snacks. I discovered this delicacy at Panera Bread when I was “studying” for an exam in college. I was trying to study, I really was, but my mind was elsewhere. My mind was on this tasty, college budget breaking, Panera Bread Caprese Salad. AKA Insalata Caprese or a salad that originated from the Italian island of Capri.
Fast forward 5 years….
And we arrive in present time where I will now make one of my five versions of this college favorite. Baked Caprese Salad on French Bread:
I made this non-traditionally with baked French Bread and strawberries as I was inspired to try a new twist on this dish. Start with slicing the French Bread diagonally to create long, surface-area encouraging slices:
Place your French Bread slices on a baking sheet and drizzle olive oil over them. Then season them with salt/pepper and bake until slightly crispy. Meanwhile, get some whole basil leaves:
Either from the store or your backyard basil plant:
Slice a mozzarella cheese log or ball, two strawberries, and a tomato:
Once the French Bread is finished, (only just beginning to be crispy as we will put the assembled masterpiece back into the oven) assemble the salad-sandwich in the order of your choice:
If you look closely, I did change the order of ingredients on my Caprese from the above picture to the final product. I recommend that you do the same. It keeps life interesting.
Ok, once assembled, place back into the oven to melt the cheese. Don’t burn the bread. Once the cheese is melted, drizzle olive oil over each Caprese Salad and season with salt and pepper. Some versions of this salad call for balsamic vinegar, but I had none. What to do? Add strawberries. Problem solved. The strawberries added another level of sweet and tart: