Caprese Salad can be Sushi

The Greeley Creative District, partnering with Greeley’s Downtown Development Agency throw an annual party, celebrating the glory that is farming, and the impact it has on Greeley: the AgriFest and AgriFeast.

I’ve been honored to have been a chef/participant for the past three years. First, as a partner chef, helping Roger Brindisi, of Cafe Panache, serve creme brulee and honey-peach ice cream, two years ago. The next year, I recovered rapidly from an emergency appendectomy, and made green chile collard greens, and some really great, semi-original, fried chicken. This year, I’ve got something else up my sleeve.

I’m making caprese salad. You know, that classic dish wherein a slice of mozzarella cheese is covered by a slice of tomato, and then covered by a basil leaf. You can see, though, from the picture above, that what I’ve made is a bit different.

Tomato Leather:

  • 12 oz Tomato paste
  • 1/2 oz Red wine vinegar
  • Salt

Remove the tomato paste from the can, and mix in the vinegar thoroughly. Spread the mixture, about 1/16 of an inch thick, on a silpat or parchment, on a cookie sheet. This will cover roughly a single standard-sized (a.k.a, half-sheet-pan). You should not be able to see through the paste, but you should almost be able to. Take care to smooth it out as much as you can, and to keep a uniform consistency.

Place in an oven on the lowest setting (mine was 150F) and dehydrate the mixture. Once you can touch the leather with your finger without any change to the surface, go another 30 minutes. Take it out. Let it cool for a few minutes, and remove from the silpat.

Build the Sushi:

  • Tomato leather: 5” x 10” rectangle
  • Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Basil chiffonade
  • Tomato, skinned, seeded, medium diced

Wet the short ends of the tomato leather with water, to help the roll stick together. Place atop plastic wrap covering a bamboo sushi rolling matt.

Cover the leather with mozzarella cheese, leaving about 1/2 of leather visible at the short side away from yourself.

Add diced tomato and basil in even lines across the mozzarella, roughly 2/3 - 3/4 of the way to the end of the cheese, measuring from your position.

Gently roll the leather and mozzarella over on itself until the exposed edge meets and overlaps the front edge, use the bamboo map to roll this as tightly as you can.

Allow to remain in plastic wrap until service.


Leaving the plastic wrap in place, cut the roll in half using a VERY sharp knife. Align the two halves and repeat. Cut four remaining pieces in half again, two at a time.

Serve with a balsamic glaze.