Introduction: Caprese Bites With Balsamic Caviar
I really dislike tomatoes. Except in salsas, sauces and anything cooked. And if they’re fresh, it really takes a LOT of other stuff added to them to make me enjoy choking them down. Except for caprese salad. Something about the creaminess of the fresh mozzarella, the tangy sweet balsamic and the crisp basil…ugh…I literally drool for fresh tomatoes. A year or so ago my sister sent me some packets of agar-agar from Molecule-R that she had purchased online. Agar-agar is a natural gelling agent found in algae which allows you to perform some really awesome magic tricks….er or…molecular gastronomy. It sounds so fancy. Scratch fancy…molecular gastronomy is…elegant. Jim Gaffigan fans anyone?
Using said molecular gastronomy and my magic unicorn dust I made balsamic vinegar caviar with just 3 ingredients and a syringe. You boil the balsamic and agar-agar together and then using the syringe drop tiny droplets into a jar of ice cold olive oil. By the time the drops hit the bottom they have gelified. New word. Coined it now. They take such a fresh and yummy treat and crank up the wow factor. I just served these at my best friend’s baby shower using the balsamic caviar, fresh mozzarella pearls, basil and mini heirloom tomatoes that made the 8 hour trek back from Trader Joe’s. Oh yum. I am so in love with these. The caviar has also held up really well in the fridge. I made them over a week ago and the leftovers are still holding strong.
Note: Even though the term “caviar” is tossed around loosely in my post, mark my words; there has never and will never be ANYTHING that has lived in the water at any point in it’s life served in my kitchen.
**Note: Balsamic caviar recipe is from molecule r.
Step 1: Put Oil in Freezer
Put about 1 cup of olive oil in the freezer. I used a small mason jar that was narrow so the balsamic would have farther to travel before they hit the bottom of the cup. You want the oil to be in the freezer about 30 minutes. This helps to cool the vinegar off faster as you drop it into the glass.
You will also need a dropper of some type. I just used an old dropper from my daughter's medicine.
Step 2: Boil the Balsamic and Agar Agar
In a saucepan, bring 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar and one packet of agar agar to a boil.
Step 3: Drop Balsamic Into Oil
Pour the balsamic mixture into a small bowl and fill your syringe or dropper. Working fairly quickly, drop tiny droplets of the balsamic into the oil. By the time they hit the bottom they should be gelled.
*Note, if you work slowly your mixture in the bowl will cool and gel on it's own. Oops!
Step 4: Strain Caviar
Now it's time to strain the caviar to separate it from the oil. Using a fine wire mesh strainer rinse your pearls in water. Store them in an airtight container. You're all set!
To assemble the bites, I used halved cherry tomatoes and hollowed them out using a melon baller. Next I put one mozzarella pearl, one basil leaf and 5-10 balsamic pearls in each bite. If you can't find fresh mozzarella pearls, you can just cut up some fresh mozzarella into tiny pieces.
Next, bite and enjoy the tangy, creamy goodness.
For more photos, visit my blog at www.designeatplay.com.
First Prize in the
Food Science Challenge