Mozzarella with roasted stone fruit is a stunner of a summer salad that juxtaposes creamy fresh mozzarella and toasted artisanal bread with sweet roasted fruit.
Sensual. Sumptuousity. Sexy. Just a few of the adjectives we’re hearing in conjunction with this stunner of a summer supper. Or brunch. Or something you settle into alongside a glass of cold wine whatever time of day or night. The creamy mozzarella, the crisp toasted bread, the richness of the olive oil and the sweetness of roasted stone fruits can’t quite be described. Just experienced.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Mozzarella with Roasted Stone Fruit
- 18 ounces (about 4) ripe peaches, nectarines, red plums, apricots, or pitted cherries
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey or superfine sugar (or just blitz granulated sugar in a food processor until finely ground but not powdery)
- 1/2 loaf (7 oz) ciabatta, sourdough bread, or other artisanal bread sliced, crusts removed if desired and bread torn into small chunks
- 4 tablespoons olive oil plus more for serving
- Pinch of crushed red chile flakes (optional)
- 9 ounces buffalo mozzarella or burrata roughly torn into 8 pieces
- Small bunch of basil, leaves picked and roughly torn if large
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF (220°C). Line an 8-or 9-inch (20-or 23-cm) baking dish with parchment paper.
- Arrange the fruit, cut side up, in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the vinegar along with the honey or sugar.
- Roast until the tops begin to bubble and char at the edges and syrupy juices form in the bottom of the baking dish, 15 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, in a separate baking dish large enough to hold the bread in a single layer, toss the bread with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a good pinch of salt. Spread it evenly and bake until it’s nicely toasted, 5 to 10 minutes.
☞TESTER TIP: To speed things along, you can roast the fruit and bread at the same time, keeping a careful watch on the bread.
- In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons oil and 1 tablespoon vinegar, along with any juices leftover from roasting the fruit, and the chile flakes, if using. Season with salt and pepper.
- On a large platter arrange the fruit and toasted bread and pour over the dressing. Add the mozzarella and basil. Drizzle with more oil as desired and serve.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This is a delicious summer salad. The fruit is luscious, as described. The nectarines were sweet and tender; the red plums stayed firm.
I prepped the fruit about an hour before cooking. My bread was fresh and soft. I pulled small pieces from the center and set it on a sheet pan to dry out for about an hour before mixing it with oil and baking (save the crust; for breakfast, I toasted it and then topped it with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella).
This has a permanent spot on our summer salad rotation!
As much as I love plums, I’ll use 4 nectarines next time.
I used a 2 1/2-quart French white Corningware dish. Just enough room for all the fruit.
My version—plums and apricots and burrata and ciabatta—was all fresh from the farmers market.
I roasted the fruit for 20 minutes but the bread toasting took only 5 minutes. When making the dressing, there was little juice leftover from the fruit roasting, but I scooped up every drop of what was available and it was beautifully red from the plums. My dish was sexier than the photo since the red plums were more visually stunning than the golden color of the peaches.
Between the olive oil used three times (the bread, the dressing, and the final drizzle) and the creamy cheese, this dish was surprisingly rich and would easily serve four, likely even more. It was so rich that we’d gladly consider the mozzarella option over the burrata option in the future–the burrata was terrific but the dish will hold its own with a good-quality mozzarella. Add the optional pinch of chile flakes? Absolutely yes next time!
Every summer, I make a peach caprese during the height of the season. Looking over this recipe, I was curious to see if I might pick up a twist on the standard…boy, was I in for a surprise! I’ve already recommended this to 3 people and I just finished eating it an hour ago. I’m adopting this method going forward.
As one might suspect, roasting in-season peaches with red-wine vinegar and honey elevates the flavor and texture of the fruit to a sumptuousity I hadn’t yet experienced in a true caprese. Roasting the fruit until “until the tops begin to bubble and char at the edges and syrupy juices form in the bottom of the baking dish” resulted in swoons of deliciousness.
We enjoyed this dish fairly soon after the peaches came out of the oven, juices still oozing from the fruit, tossed with the warm honey-vinegar-oil blend and fresh cracked pepper.
This recipe is an absolute win: it’s a failproof, fresh, elegant riff on a simple summertime classic. Strongly recommend.
I did not use chile flakes. I used Trader Joe’s demi-baguette.
Four servings seem meager; we are a household of 3, and dividing the total recipe 3 three individual portions seemed just perfect for a light but filling and totally sinful dinner.
The essential flavors of summer all seems to arrive at once and this recipe lets you try each one–any excuse to serve this for dinner, lunch, brunch—deconstructed, as long as your favorite stone fruit is in season. The balance is of sweet, tart, intense, juicy, and creamy flavors, with the bite and aroma of basil and the freshest torn croutons freshly drizzled with your best olive oil.
I tried a couple of versions, making half recipes for two greedy people to feast on. The first two were using apricots, as Blenheim apricots just arrived. I tried a slightly higher temperature and shorter time on the second batch, serving it with slabs of toast and ricotta instead of the precious but luxuriously decadent buffalo mozzarella of the first version. Both delightful, but of course the crouton rags and platter and mozzarella di bufala had much more drama and appeal.
For the mozzarella, all those torn edges seem destined to grab bits of fruit and basil and smoosh perfectly with the crisp crouton rags. A small ball (ovaline) is just right for two people. If you run out of fresh mozzarella and have really good fresh ricotta, you might opt for honey instead of sugar in that version, and if you ever needed a reason to try making mozzarella, this might be a good one.
Making it with peaches, a half recipe nearly makes a meal for two, and is such a great play of contrasting textures, temperatures, and freshness, you can’t resist. With the peaches, I used fior di latte (cows milk) mozzarella. In the 2nd peach version, I used convection, which helped get nice browning on the surface of the fruit.
For all four versions, because a friend had just given me the most beautiful perfect freshly baked kalamata sourdough boule, it stood in for ciabatta with a bonus of random pieces of just-salty-enough olives. Otherwise, plan ahead and make a ciabatta or buy the best you can find. Note to self: this method of torn croutons and simple oven treatment produced the best yet easiest croutons ever.
After you have made this a couple times (which you will), you may just splash the red wine vinegar out of the bottle, but be restrained to just the amount you need, so you get only that smidge of acid without overpowering delicate fruit and cheese. And if you were impatient to bring home stone fruit too early and it isn’t fully ripe, this treatment would work as a flavor multiplier for even the firmest early fruit as a perfect summer recipe.
I think the burrata should be placed whole on the platter and broken into as served rather than torn before.
If you’re thinking this recipe is a quasi caprese com panzanella sans tomatoes salad, think again! As much as I can’t wait to make these salads with my garden tomatoes, this recipe departure with the grilled stone fruit is “summer on a plate” in its own right!
I used peaches and honey and torn sourdough boule as the bread. I also saved time by toasting the bread at the same time the peaches were roasting. The peaches were bubbling and blushing by 15 minutes. The syrupy “aigre-dolce” vinaigrette and the creamy “mozzarella di buffala” with the fruity and crisp bite of the toasted bread, sweet and slightly charred tangy peaches, freshness of the basil, and the gentle kick from the chili flakes were a magical combination. My family and I enjoyed this salad as an alfresco lunch and it was easy to pretend we were overlooking the Tuscan hills.
Damn, this is good! And this time of year, when stone fruit is in season, I want to have it often, which I have been doing since I made it the first time.
However, I believe that roasting stone fruit would make even fruit that isn’t at its peak fabulous. That means you can enjoy it, even when stone fruit isn’t at its best. The caster sugar, or honey, along with the red wine vinegar would improve even lackluster stone fruit, if you aren’t able to get the best. All of these ingredients work together to make a delectable, well-composed, salad.
This is a dish I could make once a week during the summer when there’s an abundance of locally grown stone fruit. I halved the recipe, which made a perfect lunch for two. Roasting the peaches with a few cherries brought out a sweetness that you would not expect when tasting just the raw fruit.
The flavors of this recipe are an extraordinary combination. I opted for burrata combined with ripe peaches. The toasted ciabatta added nice crunch and texture to the salad and worked well with the creaminess of the burrata. Made sure that it was well seasoned with sea salt and pepper. An easy salad to assemble for a hot summer’s day that’s full of summer flavors and colors.
This was such a treat to eat! Great as a brunch dish as well as a refreshing appetizer at a BBQ. I used peaches and apricots (I personally preferred peaches over apricots) but I would love to try out some other stone fruits. I love that this dish has the flexibility to work with any stone fruits that may be in season. Obviously, it’s best to use ripe fruits but I’m pretty sure that if the stone fruits that you have on hand aren’t particularly ripe, you could increase the amount of honey used.
I got my peaches and apricots at the farmer’s market and currently, due to the pandemic, we aren’t allowed to pick our own fruits (the vendor just bags it for us). Though the peaches were very sweet, I don’t think they were quite ripe so the flesh didn’t come off the pit easily. As a result, I had to cut around the pit.
I enjoyed this dish so much that I can’t wait to make it again. I’m currently thinking about cooking the stone fruits and bread on the grill. Though I appreciated the tang of the buffalo mozzarella, next time, I think that I’ll just use regular mozzarella. I don’t necessarily think that the extra cost of the buffalo mozz was worth it.
I used a whole grain bread from the bakery at the farmer’s market. It resembled the texture of sourdough—nice and chewy—without the tang.
I did use the chile flakes and loved the slight heat.
My husband and I devoured this dish between the two of us for brunch. As a main dish (for breakfast or brunch) I think this serves 2. As an appetizer or side dish, this would serve 4.
What a delicious blend of a caprese and panzanella salad. The use of fruit really makes this a great dish for summer. My fruit got a bit too soft with no char but I think broiling or grilling it would be perfect. Looking forward to trying it with cherries as well!
I used 4 white peaches, French bread, and regular fresh mozzarella.
Originally published August 24, 2020