Smoky Caprese Bread Bowl

Summertime is the pinnacle of caprese season, so we married our love of the grill with our love of this simple classic. The key to this recipe's success is to get the absolute best ingredients you can. Fresh local mozzarella, perfectly ripe tomatoes, good-quality olive oil and a fresh loaf of crusty bread really make a difference here.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 45 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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Ingredients

One 1 1/2-pound round loaf crusty bread

1 tablespoon tomato paste 

1 clove garlic, finely grated 

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling 

1 pound fresh mozzarella, cubed 

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved 

1/4 cup lightly packed basil leaves, torn 

Aged balsamic vinegar, for serving 

Flaky sea salt such as Maldon, for serving 

Directions

  1. Prepare a grill for medium indirect heat.
  2. To make the bread bowl, slice off the top one-quarter of the bread with a serrated knife and set the top aside. Hollow out the loaf by cutting a circle around the inside of the bread, leaving a 1-inch border. Pull the soft bread out with your hands, making sure to leave about 1 inch intact at the bottom of the bowl as well. Reserve the bread pieces and the bowl. 
  3. Combine the tomato paste, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, several grinds of black pepper and the red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil until well combined. Brush the mixture all over the inside of the bread bowl and its top with a pastry brush. Fill with the cheese and replace the top.  
  4. Grill the bread bowl until the cheese is completely melted, about 30 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, grill the reserved bread pieces until golden all over. Transfer everything to a serving platter and remove the top of the bread bowl. Top the cheese with the tomatoes and basil. Drizzle with more olive oil and some balsamic vinegar, then sprinkle with flaky salt.