Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Thursday

September 5, 2013

Intentional Minimalist: New take on Italian classic

This salad is a new Farm-to-table take on the Italian classic featuring a homemade tangy verjus reduction, heirloom tomatoes, basil and aged Lincoln goat cheese. The recipe features local produce from 9 Bean Rows Farm and locally made products from Black Star Farms and Spring Hollow Farm.


Verjus caprese salad

Local verjus

Farm fresh local heirloom tomatoes

Local aged Lincoln goat cheese

Farm fresh local basil

Homemade garlic scape-infused olive oil

Ingredient Notes: A wide variety of infused olive oils can be purchased at grocery stores, specialty food stores or if you are an adventurous home cook you can make your own. Regular olive oil may substituted for the infused olive oil used in this recipe. Verjus is the pressed juice of unripened grapes. Black Star Farms winery makes verjus locally. You can purchase it online through Black Star Farms’ website or from its tasting room locations in Traverse City and Suttons Bay. A balsamic reduction may substituted for the verjus reduction used in this recipe.

In a small metal sauce pan, bring 1/2 cup verjus to a slow boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, stir and reduce for 10 minutes. Stir the verjus reduction and reduce for an additional five minutes. When a rich glaze forms in the pan, remove reduction from heat to cool.

Cut two cups of tomatoes into thick slices. Mince two tablespoons goat cheese. Remove 1/2 cup basil leaves from their stems.

Per salad, stack one cup tomatoes with 1/4 cup basil leaves. Sprinkle one tablespoon goat cheese on top of each salad. Drizzle one teaspoon verjus reduction and one teaspoon garlic-scape infused olive oil on top of each salad. Serve sprinkled with sea salt and ground pepper.

Kristin Celeste Shroeger of Traverse City is the food writer, recipe creator, photographer and dishwasher of The Intentional Minimalist, a website encouraging farm-to-table cooking with local, seasonal and sustainable produce. Visit

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