Asparagus Caprese Salad with a Crunchy Basil Topping
Asparagus Caprese with a Crunchy Basil Topping…for the win! Asparagus is everywhere when it comes to spring food, so I decided to marry it with the classic caprese flavors but elevate it up a bit! I added toasted breadcrumbs for some texture, fresh lemon juice for some brightness, and roasted the asparagus for some depth. It all comes together to create a lovely marriage of flavors. This recipe is easy to throw together for a last-minute side dish for a party or even a weeknight dinner.
Asparagus Caprese Salad
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 garlic clove; minced
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes; optional
- 1 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 2 bunches of asparagus, preferably not too thick
- 8 oz small mozzarella balls, aka ciliegine
- 8 oz cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quarters depending on size
- Thick balsamic for drizzling, can also use a “balsamic glaze”
- Snap the asparagus so that the tough ends breaks off and place on a baking sheet.
- Drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
- Roast at 425 for about 8-10 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the asparagus…nothing is worse than overcooked asparagus.
- Once roasted, set aside to cool a bit.
- Place a medium-size pan over medium heat and about a tablespoon or so of olive oil.
- Place the breadcrumbs in the pan and continue to stir until they start to become golden.
- Add in the garlic and stir until fragrant, being careful not to brown the garlic, only about 30 seconds. I usually add in an extra tablespoon of olive oil at this point as well.
- Remove from heat, and pour into a separate bowl.
- Stir in the lemon zest and red pepper flakes.
- Add in the basil and toss together.
- Place the asparagus on a serving platter and top with the tomatoes and mozzarella.
- Drizzle the balsamic over the veggies and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over top. You will most likely not need all of the breadcrumbs.
- Serve! I like to serve this warm.