Caprese Salad—tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, with an olive oil dressing—has become a mainstay on U.S. menus (here’s the history of Caprese Salad).
In the summer, when ripe tomatoes are picked from the vine, it’s high season for Caprese.
Each summer we publish a different take on the salad (see below). This year, it’s a variation we hadn’t thought of before: a baked Caprese Casserole.
The recipe is from QVC’s “resident foodie” and best-selling cookbook author, David Venable. The casserole shines when made with succulent summer tomatoes; and also works with off-season tomatoes (cooking tomatoes brings out some sweetness that may not be in the raw tomatoes).
Ingredients For 8 Servings
1. PREPARE the base layer. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with nonstick food spray.
2. SLICE the baguette into rounds and place them in a mixing bowl. Toss the rounds with the garlic, parmesan, olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay the rounds on a baking sheet and cook in the oven until toasted and crispy, about 20 minutes (15 minutes if you raise the temperature to 400°F).
3. SHINGLE (overlap) the toasted slices in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Starting at one end of the dish, make a row of tomato slices. Alternate rows of mozzarella and tomato until the baking dish is filled from one end to the other. Using a spoon, drizzle the olive oil, then the pesto, back and forth over the entire casserole.
4. PREPARE the topping. Place the parmesan, bread crumbs, garlic, basil and olive oil into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until combined. Sprinkle the topping evenly on top of the prepared casserole. Season with the salt and pepper.