Dana Slatkin

Tomato Mozzarella Tower

Tomato Mozzarella Tower

If any of you watched the finale of The Next Food Network Star, you know that the three finalists got to film a pilot of their dream cooking show. Each contestant had to prepare their favorite dish, one that represented their culinary soul on a plate. Well, if I had been one of those contestants, this is the recipe you would have seen me prepare.

What makes this salad such a signature? It’s unanimously delicious, it’s as fresh as can be, and it’s beautiful to behold, a picture of summer in all its elegant simplicity. What’s more, it passes the Farmgirl test: you can easily prepare it on a weekday or for guests without breaking a sweat.


Slices of fresh mozzarella are stacked between gorgeous summer tomatoes, homemade pesto, and olive tapenade, and then adorned with more diced tomatoes and fragrant basil. For a stunning effect, choose tomatoes and mozzarella that are about the same size in diameter. To save time, you can purchase pesto and tapenade from your grocer, but you can throw the ingredients in a blender much quicker than a trip to the store. The sweet vinaigrette brings all the flavors together, like a spritz of garden perfume.

It’s a warm-weather ensemble you’ll definitely want to put your name on.

For another perky summer salad, try my Asparagus and White Bean Salad…as a side dish or cool condiment for grilled fish.

What cools you down on a hot summer day? Tell us here and you’ll have a good chance of winning the August cooking contest!

Photo credit: Olivier Napa Valley

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  1. Lucienne says:

    Looooooooooove it!   not only beautiful looking but seems incredibly delicious!  That’s a real winner!
    This is one of my very favorite dish Dana.  
    Thanks for sharing.

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