Appetizers from Gorilla Grilla

Tomato Basil Salad Bites

Gorilla Grilla

I was looking for a way to serve one of my favorite salads, the Caprese salad, but making it traditionally beforehand can be tricky. The plate can often accumulate water and you really need to be careful about seasoning early as the salt can draw more water out of the tomato. So I thought about it and thought about it, then my wife said, “why not stuff the tomato?”. So I stuffed the tomato… I am clearly married to a brilliant woman! Stuffing the tomato, versus slicing the tomato, really did help give the appearance that the salad was made just before serving, when in fact, it was made a few hours before. Just before serving, I salted the plate and garnished with fresh basil and it turned out great!

My favorite part of this appetizer was seasoning the plate. You see this done in fancy steakhouses with nice cuts of meat, but I think it works just as well with tomatoes. You can really control each bite to get just the right amount of seasoning to take your flavors to new levels.


  • 10 small Campari tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups buffalo mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

How to make it

Step 1: Prepare the balsamic reduction by adding the vinegar and honey to a saucepan and heat until bubbling. Cook until reduced by half. Then set aside to cool. I like to place mine directly into the refrigerator to chill as quickly as possible.

Step 2: Remove the top and bottom slices off the tomatoes. Cutting the bottom will keep them from rolling around on a plate.

Step 3: Using a knife, core the tomatoes, removing the seeds and columella. This will leave a tall cylinder shape.

Step 4: This step is optional, but I prefer to salt (and pepper, too) the plate with pink Himalayan salt, then place a serving (5 tomatoes) onto the plate. Salting the plate vs the tomatoes themselves, allows you to get salt with each bite as you cut into the salad. It can also allow more time between preparation and serving.

Step 5: Place a few of the buffalo mozzarella cheese cubes into the tomato, then garnish with some fresh basil.

Step 6: Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the tomatoes and serve!


Brian Pawlik

Brian's Profile

Hide Comments
Show Comments
Be the first to comment
We think you'll love this too!