Skip to content

Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad

August 30, 2012

I’m rounding out the month of August just as I began it: with a tomato recipe.

The dish itself is nothing new. If your taste buds already swoon every time you hear the word “caprese,” then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

In fact, this might be the least original recipe post ever, but what it lacks in originality it makes up for in deliciousness. You just can’t go wrong with fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and basil.

It’s a classic. Starring a gorgeous, juicy, sweet heirloom tomato.

I just had to squeeze this one in before summer closes in around us. Not that tomatoes are going anywhere quite yet! (In fact my summer CSA share is about to deliver its first tomatoes to us later today, and man am I excited.)

Of course I’m sad that summer’s coming to an end, but for different reasons than in years past.

The annual changing of the calendar from August to September makes me anxious– especially with this year’s dissertation deadlines looming ominously on the horizon– but my focus has shifted. I’m not just going to miss the days of summer visitors, drinking iced mugi-cha, not wearing a watch, and reading good books; I’m going to miss the daylight.

Is it lame (and/or indicative of my misguided– for a PhD student– priorities?) that I’ve been mourning the earlier onset of dusk– and the dwindling hours of sunlight– every evening since the summer solstice, mainly because it gives me less time to photograph dinners that might have appeared on my blog?

I may have to break my vow to only use natural light, and instead apply myself to learning a little bit more about all of those knobs, buttons, and settings on my fancy new camera.

These are the types of dilemmas (along with accidental evening dark chocolate) that keep me up at night.

3 little heirloom varieties from the Santa Barbara Farmer’s Market

But more on the race against late-summer sunsets and twilight food photography some other time. For now I just wanted to remind you all to go make yourself an in-season heirloom tomato caprese salad (or sandwich, or pizza…) while you still can.

Savor the last days of summer and sunlight by enjoying what summer does best: treat yourself to a ripe farmer’s market heirloom tomato.

Slice it up on a plate. Grind just a smattering of salt or pepper over it. Drizzle on some olive oil or balsamic. Enjoy it with fresh baguette on the side, or not. Come to think of it, you can even skip the mozzarella and the basil, really. It’s all about the tomato.


Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad

(Serves 2-4)

~ 1-2 ripe heirloom tomatoes, sliced
~ fresh mozzarella (bocconcini balls or slices)
~ fresh basil leaves, washed and perhaps gently torn or chopped
~ olive oil, to taste
~ balsamic vinegar, to taste
~ fresh ground pepper, to taste
~ fresh ground sea salt, to taste

How to make it:

Assemble sliced tomatoes and mozzarella on a serving dish with chopped or whole basil leaves. Season with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, and black pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Related recipe posts:
> Grilled Apricot Salad with Arugula and Burrata Cheese
> Baked Fried Green Tomatoes
> End-of-summer Tomato Salad

50 Comments leave one →
  1. August 30, 2012 9:07 am

    Your tomaotes look so pretty and colorful. I may have to squeeze one last carprese salad too before I start making the soups. Does it get dark early in California in the winter too? Was that a stupid question? Did I just answer my own question? lol

    • August 30, 2012 10:11 am

      Thanks! And yes, it definitely starts getting dark much earlier in the winter, even in southern California where the weather itself doesn’t change much. I’ve been living here 5 years already but I can’t remember exactly what’s the earliest time it gets dark in December… maybe around 5-ish? (it’s still not quite as bad as being pitch black by 4 or 4:30pm, which I remember from growing up in Wisconsin!)

  2. August 30, 2012 9:38 am

    Gorgeous! I like mine with buffalo mozzarella.

    • August 30, 2012 10:13 am

      Thanks! I love buffalo mozzarella… (And if I hadn’t been making this all photogenic for the blog, then I would have made more of a free-form caprese in a bowl, without slicing the mozzarella so nicely.)

  3. August 30, 2012 9:52 am

    You can never go wrong in my opinion with heirloom tomatoes and fresh mozzarella! Pictures look gorgeous!

    • August 30, 2012 10:15 am

      Thank you! I know, tomatoes + cheese is such a classic combination, and heirloom tomatoes + fresh mozzarella is just about the best possible version of it.

  4. August 30, 2012 9:54 am

    Such beautiful photos!

  5. August 30, 2012 10:09 am

    That’s beautiful Allison! I love basil!

    • August 30, 2012 10:18 am

      Thanks! Me too; I’ve been even more into basil than usual this summer– I’ve already made pesto too many times to count, even though I only rarely made it in the past. (And I’ve finally started being good to my basil and storing it in a glass of water so it stays fresh long enough for me to use up every bit of it!)

  6. August 30, 2012 10:38 am

    It was kind of reassuring reading about you mourning the earlier onset of dusk for blogging purposes because I was worried about that too and I thought I was crazy and had my priorities all wrong! Turns out I’m not alone :p

    • August 31, 2012 10:37 am

      You’re definitely not alone in that! Glad I’m not, either. :)

  7. August 30, 2012 12:44 pm

    Your photos are stunning my friend, I love the design you have given your gorgeous salad :)

    Choc Chip Uru

    • August 31, 2012 10:38 am

      Thank you! I had fun arranging it on the plate… luckily there was a lot of that one extra large tomato to go around!

  8. August 30, 2012 4:02 pm

    Gorgeous Allison! This was on the table a lot on our recent trip – you’ve made it look and sound divine!

    • August 31, 2012 10:39 am

      Thanks, Shira! How nice to eat tomatoes and mozzarella in France, where so many things taste fresher and better… :)

  9. caramia79 permalink
    August 30, 2012 5:25 pm

    I am going to make this for dinner tonight!

    • August 31, 2012 10:40 am

      Awesome! It’s always a treat for me to have this for dinner.

  10. August 30, 2012 8:54 pm

    What a beautiful presentation! I hear you on the dusk thing. Graduate studies don’t leave a lot of time for… you know… life. ;)

    • August 31, 2012 10:41 am

      Thank you! Yes, exactly! Or to put it a different way, life (and food blogging) don’t leave a lot of time for… graduate studies :)

  11. August 31, 2012 12:03 am

    Nothing like a good caprese and those heirloom tomatoes look really tasty.

  12. August 31, 2012 12:16 am

    An oldie but goodie! That is one seriously beautiful tomato. I should learn something about photography in the dark myself, as it’s coming on here in Seattle as well… :)

    • August 31, 2012 10:47 am

      I know, and I got even more seriously beautiful (early girl) heirloom tomatoes from my CSA yesterday after posting this!

      I’ve only skimmed through about 90 pages of the 200-something-page manual for my camera, and still haven’t used many of its settings (other than macro!). But I suspect that the lighting in my kitchen is so ugly and yellow that even a fancy camera can’t save a photo shoot when it’s pitch dark outside…

      • August 31, 2012 11:11 am

        I think we need lights. I seem to remember that has a $15 lighting set-up that he said works great.

      • August 31, 2012 12:10 pm

        Thanks! I’ll check it out. Also I agree that we need lights and– more than anything– some way to diffuse the light… I might see if I can get something cheap for that on Amazon. I just feel guilty about making this a priority since it’s really just a fun (bordering-on-obsessive) hobby!

  13. September 1, 2012 1:50 am

    Hey, I noticed you stopped by my blog and left leaving several ‘likes’. Thanks a lot. I appreciate your feedback :) Love your space here.

  14. September 1, 2012 7:56 am

    Well.. I think this is just one of the prettiest plated caprese salads I’ve seen! Good luck with the fall rush, I’m certain all will work out!! Happy to be following you now!!

    • September 1, 2012 2:28 pm

      Thank you! Yes, I think everything will work out fine… especially if I could devote as much time to my dissertation as to my blog; then I’d probably have it done in only months instead of years… And thanks for following! Your blog is absolutely beautiful; I’m happy to be following you, too!

  15. September 2, 2012 7:59 am

    So perfectly simple–one of my very favorite ways to eat a tomato. :)

    (At one of our local Italian joints, I had a caprese salad that substituted roasted beets for the tomatoes. That, too, was amazing!)

    • September 2, 2012 11:17 am

      Wow, that sounds good, too! I hope they explained about that beets-for-tomatoes substitution in advance though, otherwise that would be one majorly disappointing instance of false advertising ;)

      • September 2, 2012 1:22 pm

        They did–it was on the menu as a “beet caprese salad,” and of course I couldn’t pass it up. :)

      • September 2, 2012 1:34 pm

        Well that’s a relief! I probably wouldn’t have been passed on it either.

  16. September 3, 2012 5:00 am

    Beautiful, Beautiful Salad!

  17. alotonyourplate permalink
    September 7, 2012 10:29 am

    Thank you so much for adding your recipe to my “Ingredient of the Month” post! You can check it out here:

  18. September 8, 2012 9:52 am

    Mmmmm, your caprese looks heavenly. And thanks for your comment about the farmers market… I had told myself I would read a book on this fine Saturday morning, but instead I’ve been perusing around your blog since I discovered it today. And now, I think I’ll throw my hair into a pony and go over to the local farmers market to get some yummy tomatoes. Last night after my weekly Friday night movie, I went to the store and bought tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, and made some caprese salad… but the tomatoes were not the best. Not ripe, no flavor — Ah, yes, the farmers market! I’m sure there are some yummy ripe tomatoes waiting there for me! Off I go!

    • September 8, 2012 9:18 pm

      Oh no, sad supermarket tomatoes are the worst! (And not just because they don’t have as much flavor as local, farmer’s market, or heirloom varieties, but also it’s likely that they weren’t picked on a slave-labor-free tomato farm– you can see my post about Slave-free Tomatoes and the Fair Food Program if you’re interested!)

      Anyway, I’m so glad I inspired you to go hit up the farmer’s market for delicious tomatoes! Hope you enjoyed your caprese salad :)


  1. Company is Coming for Dinner… « A Mom Inspired
  2. My Caprese Broil « Karen di Bee
  3. Ingredient of the Month: Basil | A Lot On Your Plate
  4. Slow-Roasted Tomato Bruschetta « spontaneous tomato
  5. Avocado Lemon Pesto « spontaneous tomato
  6. Heirloom Tomato Goat Cheese Tart « spontaneous tomato
  7. Ingredient of the Month: Basil
  8. Caprese Crepes | spontaneous tomato
  9. Tomato Basil Bagels (Guest Post) | spontaneous tomato
  10. 18 Awesome Recipes for The 4th of July – Spicie Foodie ™

I love, love, love reading your comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: