Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Recipe

June 30, 2006 11 Comments

Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Basil Salad Recipe

Also Called Caprese Salad

Even though the great summer tomatoes aren’t available yet here in Philadelphia, there is still a lot of good produce around. This time of year we live on fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil from our garden or the farmer’s market.

The mozzarella we buy at Costco. I like the large egg size that comes in the big tubs. A tub will last us a couple of weeks depending on how often my girls ask for slices to snack on. Personally, I think this is the same mozzarella that you buy in gourmet stores that are sold individually at twice the per pound rate.

Where we do indulge is with the oil and balsamic vinegar. I like to use the best extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar I can afford. You use it sparingly, especially the balsamic vinegar, so why not treat yourself to something great. You don’t want to overpower the incredible flavors of the fresh tomatoes and basil so a little goes a long way.

You can find great extra virgin olive oil everywhere but they are not all the same. Each producer of fine virgin olive oil will create it with a unique taste and I recommend you go to a store where they will let you sample various oils to find the one you like.

The one I am very fond of is from Giorgio Zampa, a Tuscan style olive oil made on the small island of Sardinia off the coast of Italy. The oil is made with Bosana olives that are grown on the island, harvested when ripe and cold pressed within hours of picking.

The balsamic vinegar I use is incredible but expensive. I like the 20-year Padroni balsamic vinegar. It’s over a  $100 per bottle but lasts me well over a year so figure less than $9.00 per month. So I don’t buy a couple of lattes each month.

A much better buy is the Giusti 12 year balsamic or the Giusti 10 year old balsamic.  These too are not cheap when compared to the price you are used to in the supermarket but there is no comparison when it comes to flavor. Side by side, the cheap stuff tastes like sugar water.

The cost is over $50 but you get 250 ml of complex aged balsamic vinegar rather than the 100 ml you get with the 20 year Padroni. Is there a difference? Of course, but dollar for dollar, the 10 & 12 year olds are a great buy.

Preparing the Tomatoes, Mozzarella & Basil

I don’t remember if I saw this dish presented this way in a cookbook, magazine or on a web site but it looked like a great way to serve them so we gave it a try. In the past I would just slice the tomato & mozzarella and layer it with the basil by fanning it out on a plate.

This method of cutting the tomato whole and slipping in the mozzarella and basil makes it much more elegant. I can’t wait to serve it to friends at a dinner party. To dress it, I just sprinkle some of the extra virgin olive oil over the tomatoes (I use the thumb over the end of the bottle technique) and a few drops of balsamic vinegar (using the same technique) and season it with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Garnish with a sprig of basil and you are done. This is a summer staple in our house so give it a try.

Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Basil

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Serving Size: depends

Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Basil


1 ripe, fresh tomato per diner

Very thin slices of fresh mozzarella cheese

whole basil leaves, washed and dried

best quality extra virgin olive oil

best quality balsamic vinegar

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

How To Prepare At Home

Place a tomoto, upside down, on a cutting board.

With a shap, serrated blade, cut down through the tomato to about 1/2 inch from the cutting board. You want to cut vertical, parallel slices while keeping the base of the tomato intact so it holds together.

Gently separate the slices, being careful not to tear the slices off the tomato. Insert a slice of fresh mozzarella and a whole basil leaf between each slice of tomato.

Sparingly drizzle on a bit of olive oil and just a few drops of balsamic vinegar.

Season with salt and pepper. Garnish each tomato with a fresh basil leaf or sprig and serve.

Last modified on Tue 28 July 2015 3:58 pm

Comments (11)

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  1. Bob H. says:

    This is a wonderful recipe. Occasionally, I “enhance” the salad by adding thin slices of sweet onion and lox. In addition, I toss on a few capers.

  2. Dan says:

    Makes wonderful ingrediants for sandwiches on mini baguets.

  3. ashley says:

    i love the tomatoe & mozz salad, only i stack mine and julianne the basil over it. but i love this presentation as well!!

  4. Mary Giedzinski says:

    I really enjoy the tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad. I make it with the same ingredients, but I also add a few drops of truffle oil. I love this on picnic nights out.

  5. jackie says:

    i love this

  6. Laura Hornsby says:

    We make a version of this in the colder months, too. I roast the tomatoes, then top the roasted tomatoes with the mozzarella and broil it for a minyte, just until the cheese melts slightly. We put basil on it if we can get it, or pesto if we can’t get fresh basil. Finish with good olive oil and balsamic. Yummy!

  7. Patti says:

    While visiting the owners of a small family run winery in Napa we were served an appetizer of rustic bread slice that were lightly toasted then spread with a kalamata olive spread, tomato and mozzarella then put back under the broiler to melt the cheese and topped with fresh basil. It was delicious and I have made it for my guests who love it.

  8. Judy says:

    We enjoy a variation of this all year long. We use all these ingredients plus a generous amount of onion and make salad. Just let the tomatoes drain a bit after cutting into bite sizes and then chop and add the rest. Let it sit about 30 minutes at room temp. Even my kids love this!

  9. Dick says:

    Capers go great with this!

  10. DAN says:


  11. Sherry O'Dett says:

    I love this type of recipe and so healthy!

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