Unless you are the world's most prescient shopper you're likely to end up with leftover produce after making pizza at home. After staying up until 2 a.m. baking pizzas a few nights ago, I collapsed into a flour-addled coma and awoke hours later to find fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and the juices strained from a 28-ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes regarding me reproachfully from the depths of the refrigerator. I knew there was only one course of action: salad.
As a play on insalata Caprese, I reduced the tomato juice to a thick syrup and used it as the base for a tomato vinaigrette, which I then tossed with the mozzarella and basil and some pine nuts, radicchio, and roasted peppers I had on hand.
The resulting salad was so good that I might be persuaded to make less pizza just to accumulate the ingredients.
- 1 cup tomato juice
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 small shallot
- Peanut oil or another neutral oil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt or sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 red, yellow, or orange bell peppers
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2 cups fresh basil
- 1 head radicchio
- About 1 1/2 cups fresh mozzarella
Reduce tomato juice over low heat in a small saucepan until it forms a thick syrup. Meanwhile, mince shallot. Combine reduced tomato juice, vinegar, mustard and shallot. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in peanut oil until mixture has increased in volume by half. Slowly incorporate olive oil until volume of mixture is double what it was before the addition of any oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Rinse and dry peppers and halve lengthwise. Coat with peanut oil and arrange skin-side-up on a parchment-lined baking tray or cookie sheet. Broil on high as close to the heating element as possible until the skins of the peppers are charred and blistered. Seal peppers in a plastic bag for several minutes to sweat. Scrape out stems and seeds with the back of a knife and remove skins with your fingers. Thinly slice.
Toast pine nuts in a small skillet over low heat until light golden brown and fragrant.
Remove basil leaves from stems and submerge in cold water for 1 to 2 minutes to remove any grit. Dry thoroughly with a salad spinner or paper towels. Shred, rinse, and dry radicchio. Cut mozzarella into large cubes.
Toss together roasted peppers, pine nuts, basil, radicchio, and mozzarella in a large salad bowl. Taste vinaigrette on a basil leaf and correct seasoning. Toss salad with vinaigrette and serve immediately on chilled plates.