In August, one of my favorite things to eat is a caprese salad – the simple combination of perfectly ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and vibrant basil leaves is just gorgeous. But, after the wonderful weather in July, we’ve got a period of cooler, rainy days, which call for something warm at dinner time. This led me to create this dish: Baked Tomatoes with Mozzarella and Basil.
The baked tomatoes with mozzarella recipe is simply a baked version of a Caprese salad, with a few little extras to make it a bit more filling. It is quick and easy to make and would make a perfect side dish to meat, or for a light meal, you could just load up a slice of warm, crusty bread with some of these baked tomatoes to make a sort of deconstructed pizza. Or, to turn the Caprese salad on its head, you could serve this, warm, over a bed of spinach and basil leaves.
I added reduced creme fraiche for a creamier dish, along with some spinach leaves and grated cheese over the top – because who can resist golden, bubbly, melted cheese? I used cheddar because I happened to have it in the fridge, but if you wanted a truly Italian dish, substitute for parmesan.
There is little prep work to do, apart from a bit of slicing and heating the cream, and it only takes 15-20 mins in the oven, making this a great dish for a busy week. This is my tomatoes and mozzarella recipe. Enjoy!
Baked Tomatoes with Mozzarella and Basil
- 3 medium tomatoes ripe but firm
- 1 ball of mozzarella
- 1 handful torn spinach leaves
- A few basil leaves
- 150 ml creme fraiche
- Cheddar or parmesan cheese to grate over the top
- Oregano and black pepper to season.
- Preheat the oven to 200oC. Drizzle a little olive oil at the bottom of a gratin dish and cover with the torn spinach leaves.
- Slice the tomatoes fairly thinly.
- Layer tomatoes, torn pieces of mozzarella and basil leaves until all the tomatoes have been used up.
- In a pan, heat the creme fraiche gently and stir until it reduces a little and is warmed through. Pour over the other ingredients in the dish.
- Cover with grated hard cheese and sprinkle with some oregano and black pepper to season.
- Bake for about 20 mins until the tomatoes are soft and the cheese is bubbling.