Peanut butter and jelly. Spaghetti and meatballs. Burgers and fries. Some things are just better together, including tomatoes and mozzarella. Whether you enjoy them atop pizza, with pasta, on a sandwich or in a salad, there’s no denying that ripe, juicy tomatoes and creamy, smooth mozzarella cheese complement each other perfectly. This summer, take advantage of in-season from-the-vine tomatoes and prepare them in a classic style: caprese.
Italian caprese salads are most traditionally eaten raw, with just a handful of uncooked ingredients: slices of sweet tomatoes and smooth mozzarella cheese, hand-torn basil, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. It’s a rustic dish but one that shines when you use the freshest ingredients. We’ve rounded up Food Network’s best five caprese salad-inspired recipes, each a unique twist on the classic dish. Check them out below, then tell us your favorite way to enjoy tomatoes and mozzarella.
5. The Neelys’ Caprese Tart – Gina and Pat arrange slices of tomatoes and mozzarella atop pesto-brushed puff pastry and bake it for just 15 minutes to create a fuss-free appetizer.
4. Baked Panzanella Caprese – Transform the seasonal panzanella salad into Giada’s warm, baked plate by layering slices of tomatoes and mozzarella, tangy balsamic and chopped garlic and topping with thick-cut bread.
3. Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad – Before serving with basil and mozzarella, Ina slowly roasts plum tomatoes until they’re soft, caramelized and concentrated.
2. Pasta Caprese – Boasting a squeeze of lemon juice, chopped shallots and colorful heirloom tomatoes, this summertime pasta (pictured above) from Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, for Food Network Magazine is a refreshing dish that won’t weigh you down.
1. Caprese Salad – In just 10 quick minutes, Rachael preps and plates a five-star caprese salad, best finished with fruity extra-virgin olive oil before serving.
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