I came up with this idea because I couldn’t decide if I wanted to make some baked stuffed tomatoes or a simple Caprese Salad. I had these beautiful Campari tomatoes. They’re larger than a cherry tomato but not a full sized variety. Too large for a one bite uncooked idea like these Cheese and Olive Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes. And too small for a Caprese Salad. Perfect size for stuffing and baking. And although I’ve already made Pesto recently, I’ve still got lots of fresh basil in my herb garden. So I took the elements of a traditional caprese salad and combined them to make these Caprese Stuffed Tomatoes.
Caprese Salad is a simple dish consisting of ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, good quality olive oil and coursely ground salt and pepper. That’s it! No, I didn’t forget balsamic. My research has taught me that it’s not actually a traditional component of real Caprese. Here’s how not to f#%k up a Caprese Salad.
Anyway, back to the Caprese Stuffed Tomatoes.
Using a small paring knife, cut around the top and scoop out the seeds.
Mix together shredded mozzarella, olive oil, chopped fresh basil and freshly ground salt and pepper. I added some bread crumbs, just a bit, to give some body to the stuffing. Otherwise it would just be a gooey mess. And I snuck in a bit of minced garlic. You wouldn’t use garlic in a raw salad but when it’s cooked with tomatoes, cheese and basil, well it’s just heavenly.
Press in as much stuffing as you can without splitting the tomatoes. I used a grapefruit spoon and my fingers. It helps if you bake them in a smaller dish so they can’t roll around too much.
Sprinkle some bread crumbs over top.
Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.
These are great as an appetizer or a side dish.
Here’s the recipe:
Caprese Stuffed Tomatoes
- 20 Campari tomatoes
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 10-15 medium sized basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 Tbsp bread crumbs divided
- salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse tomatoes. Cut off tops and scoop out seeds.
- Shred mozzarella. Finely mince garlic cloves and chop basil. Add to cheese along with olive oil, salt and pepper and half of the breadcrumbs.
- Press into tomatoes, packing quite well. Sprinkle tops with remaining bread crumbs.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes until cheese is melting and tops are browning.