Dinning Al Fresco- Arugula and Nectarine Caprese

Wow do we love Sunday Dinners… especially in the summer when you can leave the windows open and enjoy a cold bottle of white wine while watching the kiddos play outside. There is something so joyful about these summer nights.

I am very into pairing fruit for a fresh take on a classic dish. For an appetizer I put together an Arugula and Nectarine Caprese and WOW was it delicious. The peppery arugula and the bite of the shallots pair very well with the sweetness of the nectarines, the richness of the balsamic reduction and the creamy mozzarella cheese plus my favorite addition to this dish was the crunch of the crispy pancetta. This paired very well with one of my favorite summer wines, Oyster Bay- Sauvignon Blanc. I love all Marlborough wines!

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Arugula and Nectarine Caprese

4 Small Nectarines
1 small container Pancetta
1 Medium Shallot
4 cups Arugula
6 Basil Leafs
2 pre sliced logs of Mozzarella Cheese (or container of mini Mozzarella balls if tossing it like a salad)
1 Tbsp. of Balsamic Reduction (I like the Bertolli Balsamic Glaze the best)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Step 1:

Start to prep your ingredients. I like to chop up the nectarines very tiny and same with the shallots. This allows for you to get a of the ingredients in each bite. Set this aside. Next rough chop the basil and set aside.

Step 2:

Cook the pancetta. I do this in our cast iron skillet and cook it until crispy. This adds a great crunch to the dish! Once it is cooked, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Let the pancetta cool and let the paper towels absorb the oil/fat from cooking!

Step 3:

To arrange this take the top 5 ingredients to a bowl and toss, then drizzle your oil, vinegar, salt and pepper– toss again lightly. Arrange your cheese around the edges of your plate and then add your arugula salad mixture down the center. Now is the time for the AMAZING balsamic reduction!! Drizzle this across the top of your cheese and salad mixture. This adds a nice sweetness and richness to the dish! I have recently started purchasing my balsamic reduction at the store. This makes it easy to have on hand and tastes just as great!

This is the time to get creative! This can be arranged in two different ways– like a tossed salad or leaving the cheese separate from the arugula mixture. I have done it both ways and it taste great! If you are using the Mozzarella logs- you should arrange it like my picture (cheese layered around the plate and the salad mixture in the center) if you are using the small mozz. balls, I would toss it like a salad and then pour it out onto a platter.

This salad is great as an appetizer or a light dinner/side dish! We made this with with a light Summer Shrimp Pasta dish… recipe coming soon 🙂

ENJOY!!

D

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