Blistered Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad With Pesto
This cherry tomato Caprese salad is a delicious and easy way to make the most of summer’s abundance of sweet cherry tomatoes and basil. This salad is a riff on the classic Caprese, pairing blistered cherry tomatoes and pesto with fresh mozzarella. Blistering the cherry tomatoes intensifies their flavor and sweetness, bringing them to another level, and making this salad an excellent choice for any time of the year.
VEGETARIAN ✓ LOW CARB ✓ KETO ✓ GLUTEN-FREE ✓
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If you are like me, at the end of summer, you find yourself in the glorious position of having bowls of cherry tomatoes around the house. I usually make batches of roasted cherry tomatoes to freeze for winter pastas and sauces, or fresh salsas to pair with guacamole and chips or grilled fish.
This Blistered Cherry Tomato Caprese is a means to a similar end. It uses a good amount of cherry tomatoes and highlights their amazing fresh flavor. It is also a great recipe for 1. using cherry tomatoes that are slightly past perfect, 2. for using those that may have just split on the vine from too much rain, or 3. for any time of the year with store bought tomatoes that pale in comparison to summer’s homegrown.
Cherry tomatoes are a favorite type of tomato for their proliferation and sweet, snackable flavor. They are low in calories and rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C and potassium, which support immune function and heart health. Cherry tomatoes also contain antioxidants like lycopene, which may have potential anti-cancer properties and contribute to skin health.
Fresh Mozzarella is a favorite cheese for its mild and creamy flavor and it’s versatility in cooking. Mozzarella originated in the Campania region of Italy, where it was traditionally made from the milk of water buffaloes. The traditional process of making fresh mozzarella involves coagulating milk, typically from water buffaloes or cows, with rennet to form curds. The curds are then stretched and kneaded to achieve the characteristic smooth and elastic texture of fresh mozzarella. This process gives the cheese its name “mozzarella,” which comes from the Italian word “mozzare,” meaning “to cut.”
Pesto is a delicious and easy to make sauce, originating in Italy. Made by combining fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, and olive oil, pesto lends itself to so many uses – from dips, to spreads, to sauces, and salad dressings.
What Is A Caprese Salad?
A Caprese salad is a classic Italian salad which is made of fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, and seasoned with olive oil and salt. It is usually arranged in layers on a plate, alternating between the mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, like with my Rainbow Tomato Caprese Salad (recipe coming soon).
How To Make Blistered Cherry Tomatoes
Making blistered cherry tomatoes could not be simpler. Heat olive oil in a medium to large pan over medium-high heat (a cast iron pan works great for this). When the oil is hot, add the cherry tomatoes and cook undisturbed for 2+ minutes. This will ensure a nice sear and “blister” on the tomato. Stir the tomatoes and continue to cook until they are starting to crinkle and release their juice. Don’t stir them too hard or they could crush and release all of their juice, and you will have more of a sauce than tomatoes. A delicious sauce nonetheless!
How To Style This Salad
The first thing to consider when styling a salad, is the role the ingredients have in the final dish. Are there stand-alone ingredients that deserve to be given their own space, like with my Peach, Tomato & Burrata Salad – or do the ingredients need to be mixed together in order to blend the flavors and create a more uniform experience, like with my Avocado, Egg & Arugula Salad With Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette.
This Blistered Cherry Tomato Salad With Pesto is best served in a composed style, meaning plated and arranged with purpose.
Tips & Tricks
Here are a few things that might help:
- Tear the mozzarella by hand into rough chunks.
- Use good quality extra virgin olive oil.
- Always use fresh garlic.
- Top with sea salt and a grind of black pepper.
- Serve with a warm crusty baguette or focaccia.
Here are some suggested substitutions to make this salad a better fit for your palate, preferences, and diet. If you are looking for specific substitutions, let me know in the comments below!
- Cherry Tomato Alternatives: Fresh cherry tomatoes, quartered tomatoes,
- Cheese Alternatives: Burrata, Feta
- Make It Dairy Free: Slow roasted or grilled whole zucchini or eggplant, for that creamy, rich consistency.
- Other Add-Ins: Drizzle with balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze.
More “Caprese” Salad Recipes To Try
If you make this Blistered Cherry Tomato Caprese salad be sure to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you. And if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see!
How To Make: Blistered Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad With Pesto
|2 Pints Cherry Tomatoes
|8 Ounces Fresh Mozzarella, Torn Into Large Pieces
|1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
|Fresh Basil, For Topping
|Freshly Ground Black Pepper
For The Pesto
|1/4 Cup Pine Nuts, Toasted
|1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
|2 Cloves Garlic
|2 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves
|1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese