Hand us a ripe, fresh-off-the-vine tomato and tell us to turn it into dinner, and our mind instantly goes to caprese salad, with thick slices of squeaky mozzarella and fragrant basil leaves. It is the summer salad and a hard to beat tomato and cheese pairing.
But then, in the Cookbook Club this week, member Linsey Sowa shared her take on tomato-rubbed grilled bread, topped with whipped ricotta and tomato salad from Joshua McFadden's Six Seasons. Can an appetizer sound any more delicious and summery? Needless to say, we got to thinking about all of the cheese and tomato combos that we still need to enjoy before the seasons change. Starting with these five:
It's a classic for a reason. You can't go wrong sticking with a standard caprese salad or tweaking it a bit, whether you turn the combo into a panzanella, a sandwich, or slip some sweet nectarine slices in with the tomatoes. And yes, its cream-bellied sibling, burrata, counts in this category, too!
Milky and fresh, ricotta is a soft, ever-so-slightly-sweet cheese tastes lovely with tomatoes as is, but you can also try whipping it extra smooth and creamy. It's one of those ingredients worth seeking out the best quality stuff—if you can't find it fresh, try making your own. Technically it's not true ricotta, but it makes a delicious stand-in.
For a little tangy bite with your tomatoes, go for goat cheese. And the options for enjoying them together are almost endless: in a salad or a tart, or an egg dish like a quiche or frittata, or even baked.
What would a big bowl of spaghetti be without a shower of freshly grated Parmesan? Not as good, that's what. And Parmesan is just as good with fresh tomatoes as it is with cooked tomato sauce, so go grab your grater.
The mildest cheese of the bunch, cream cheese serves as a cool, creamy stage on which tomatoes can shine, whether in a turnover, a strata, or a simple sandwich.