So this is a mosaic meal because it is all these different components that just work together to create something absolutely beautiful. This is a classic fresh summer salad with its fresh herbs and vegetables, but it has a creamy texture achieved by the aioli and cannelloni beans. It also is hearty and rich. Its a bunch of things together that you wouldn’t think would work but paint this beautiful painting on your palate. Im sounding so artsy and corny but I’m serious, I was pleasantly surprised by how complex this dish could taste while at the same time being so simple. Although I made this as though I was presenting it to a food critic it could so easily be adapted into a simple summer salad side dish that you could bring anywhere.
So this has a lot of components so I’m going to break it down into several components and write this in paragraph form
- balsamic vinegar
- roasted red peppers (the kind in the can is best)
- fresh basil and parsley (if you don’t have it, oh well, but it tastes the best with it)
- mozzarella sticks (if you have fresh use it, but the sticks work too 😉 )
- tomato (large because this will be the vehicle to carry your salad)
- salt and pepper
Begin with the beans:
So strain the beans and give them a quick rinse, then I quickly sautéed the beans in a few diced up garlic and onion, just a quick sauté to take away the canned flavor they have. Place your sautéd beans in a bowl and add to this diced onion (literally just a few slices) and diced cucumber (about 1/4 depending on how much you like). You want these veggies diced small especially the onion. Slice up your fresh herbs and add them to the mix as well, for a whole bowl I used about 3 leaves of basil and a little less of parsley. Put these in the bowl to let the flavors meld.
Preparing the Tomato:
So you want to slice the tomato in half right through the core. Then slice out the core and scoop out the inside guts and put them in the salad. You want to do this de-coring over your bowl of beans and such because you want that acid from the tomato to help bring the salad together, plus waste not want not. Okay so now you have your salad, and your “bowl”
This will smell TERRIBLE. Not even gonna lie to you, don’t put your face close or you will regret it. But after it gets to its thick syrup state you will definitely enjoy its addition to your salad. So in a sauce pan pour out some balsamic vinegar, at least enough to cover the bottom of the pan. You are going to bring this to a boil then reduce it to a simmer until it is thick and syrupy. The boiling process is when it will smell the most, just so you know. Okay now we have one of our dressings, we just have ONNNEEE more component.
Red pepper Aioli:
So this is the last component that brings it all together, makes it nice and creamy. So it starts with mayo and then using the can of roasted red peppers your going to scoop out some of the oil in the can and add it to the mayo. Then slice up one of the red peppers and add it to the mayo making sure you get the juices in it. The point is you want this to be thin, like a creamy dressing. Okay now we have all the components, lets put it together
So place your tomato bowl on a plate then scoop in your salad. Nice and full and over flowing. Then drizzle on your aioli and reduction, more aioli then reduction. It looks elegant but once you slice into it, it because far less easy to eat it elegantly. This is a mosaic of flavor, and I think you will enjoy it.