Savor the Summer with Caprese Inspired Dishes

The sad, mealy, so-called tomatoes we choke down in the off-season pale in comparison to a fresh, juicy, in-season tomato. The two simply do not compare beyond a mere resemblance. Ripe tomatoes from my mother’s garden are one of my childhood pastimes and an annual marker of summer. No matter how hot the weather, it just doesn’t quite feel like summer until I bite into that first summer tomato and revel in the superior taste and texture that is as fleeting as the summer itself. I just enjoyed my first tomato of the season this past weekend. It was a Pink Brandywine Heirloom and it was spectacular and juicy and everything it should be. I’m eagerly anticipating the bounty to follow!

The classic Caprese salad (or Insalata Caprese, meaning “Salad of Capri” in Italian) is an exceptional way to highlight a good tomato. A simple mixture of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, salt and olive oil, the Caprese is colorful, full flavored, and requires no real recipe. Just add each ingredient to your desired taste and you are ready to enjoy. Beyond the classic Caprese salad, the quintessential combination of tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella is always delicious and can be used in a variety of recipes that embrace the beauty of a summer tomato.

Branch out beyond the basic Caprese with these recipe ideas:

Goat Cheese, Mozzarella, Basil, and Tomato Mac and Cheese
Blistered Caprese Pizza with Garlic Scape Pesto
Grilled Caprese Zucchini Roll Ups
Strawberry Caprese with Pistachio Pesto
Blueberry Caprese Salad
Grilled Caprese Naan Pizza
Tomato Basil Salad with White Beans & Bocconcini
Caprese Quinoa Grilled Stuffed Mushrooms with Balsamic Glaze
Farro Caprese Salad
Roasted Tomato Caprese Panzanella
Hasselback Tomato Caprese
Caprese Quinoa Bake
Caprese Tart with Roasted Tomatoes
Grilled Caprese Sandwich with Arugula Pesto
Honey Grilled Watermelon Caprese Salads
Caprese Garlic Bread
Eggplant and Tomato Napoleons
Caprese Tomato Spinach Soup
Grilled Pizzas with Pesto, Tomatoes, and Mozzarella

Experiment with tomato varieties in Caprese themed recipes for different flavors and textures: add small bursts of excitement with cherry or grape tomatoes or explore the different tastes and textures of the various heirlooms. Miyoko’s Kitchen makes a delicious VEGAN mozzarella (available at the co-op in the cooler next to the other cheese alternatives), so there’s no need to miss out on the Caprese action if you’re vegan, dairy-free, or lactose-intolerant.