All right, 2013, you’ve got my attention. You’re a big one.

Friends, it is with joy so intense I feel it in every part of my body that I get to tell you that Saveur magazine, along with all of you lovlies who voted, has named this here blog the best cooking blog of 2013. Wow. Just crazy wow.

There are so many things to say and yet I can’t hear the words beyond the excited screaming in my head.

This award is like a giant affirmation that I’m headed in the right direction and for someone, such as myself, who spends much of the time on the journey questioning. “Is this the right way? Should I turn here? Should I have kept walking straight or turned back there? Hmm. Maybe I’ll just stop here and wonder about which way to go for awhile.” This year it has been about walking forward with confidence and trusting that my steps are being guided and I’m just going along for the ride.

So I’m taking this award as a giant sign along the path that reads, “This is the right way! Keep going!”

But let’s get to the real reason why I’m here – to tell you about the best lunch I’ve had in a very long time. I mean I guess it’s not hard to beat the peanut butter and honey sandwiches that have become customary lunch around here.

No, you know what. It is hard to beat that. Peanut butter sandwiches are like eating a sweet memory from when your biggest problem was deciding which cartoon to watch. But they are still not as good as creamy slices of avocado under a layer of even creamier burrata which buckles under the weight of a pile of sweet and tangy roasted tomatoes. Add to that roughly torn basil and a squeeze of fresh lemon all on a butter toasted piece of country bread. Lunch.

It’s a caprese salad and yet it’s not. The genius behind the addition of avocado to this classic salad is Gaby Dalkins, author of the just released cookbook, Absolutely Avocados. A book devoted entirely to the glorious avocado. Of course there’s guacamole – goat cheese guacamole and spicy sesame guacamole, for example. Then Gaby goes and throws some avocado into her cookies and purees avocado with her hummus. She’s brilliant.

Now, I’m not sure my caprese will ever be without avocado. Or roasted tomatoes for that matter (unless it’s early September in Seattle when the tomatoes just off the vine have the same robust sweetness as those that have bathed in a hot oven for an hour). Β And since we’re changing things up quite a bit I’m also fairly certain that all caprese salads around here will be eaten on top of buttery, crisp bread that was rubbed with fresh garlic. Pretty sure I can no longer call it caprese, but I will call it lunch and then I’ll go ahead and call it dinner too.





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Roasted Tomato Caprese with Avocado

Roasted Tomato Caprese with Avocado

inspired byΒ Absolutely AvocadosΒ by Gaby Dalkins

makes 3 tartines


1 large beefsteak tomato or 1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

4 large leaves fresh basil

1 tablespoon butter

3 thick slices of country bread

1 garlic clove

1/2 avocado, peeled and sliced thin

1/2 large burrata ball (mozzarella would work fine here)

1/2 lemon


Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

Cut the large tomato in 1/4″ inch slices. Lay on a parchment lined sheet tray and drizzle olive oil and sprinkle with the salt. If you are using the cherry tomatoes, simply toss them with the olive oil and salt and lay them in a single layer on a parchment lined sheet tray.

Roast for 1 – 1 1/2 hours until wilted, wrinkly and deeply caramelized in parts. The cherry tomatoes will sweet and deflate and some of the juices will scorch in places. This is good.

When the tomatoes have roasted, remove them from the oven and set aside to cool.

In a large skillet over medium heat add the butter to melt. Place the pieces of bread in the pan and cook until crisp and golden in parts, about 3-4 minutes per side.

Remove the bread from the pan and let cool.

Once cool assemble the tartines. Avocado slices line the bottom, next tear off a piece of the fragile burrata taking care to get parts of the creamy interior. Lick your fingers when no one is looking.

Add a small pile of roasted tomatoes on top. Then finish with some torn leaves of basil and a squeeze of lemon. Feel free to add a nice flaky salt on top too.


70 Responses to “Roasted Tomato Caprese with Avocado”

  1. Dee

    I saw that you were nominated and sent you good wishes! I’m glad you got it!! Congratulations, you really really deserve it, I mean your recipes are just amazing and your pictures are art!


  2. Amy Showalter

    I’ll have to credit them for knowing a good thing when they see it. You are certainly deserving, it’s great to see your work recognized!

  3. Kathryn

    Congratulations Ashley, the award is so well deserved. Not only does everything here look and sound so delicious but it is always inspiring, like a breath of fresh air. Whenever I feel like I’m losing my love of food, I come here and I remember all over again why I feel the way I do. Like this caprese with avocado which I’m not going to be able to stop thinking about.

  4. miguel azevedo peres

    Congratulations!! it’s well deserved! I’ve only discovered your blog some months a go while looking for how to make salt at home and it was love at first sight! great content, DELICIOUS pictures and great design! Your blog inspires me!

  5. Stephanie

    Congratulations, Ashley! I’m so thrilled for you. This award is definite confirmation that you’re headed in the right direction. Really love all your recipes– always so delicious and gorgeous, and this one is no different. I can already taste how yummy this is. πŸ™‚

  6. Joy @ OSS

    Congrats! I love your blog so much I’m glad you won. Great recipe btw, will try my hand at it for sure!

  7. La Torontoise

    Congratulations!! I voted for you in Saveur.
    I love your bog and I learnt so much from it.
    All the best, from another active world traveler
    PS. Thank you so much for tis recipe! It’s wonderful, I can hardly wait to finish work, to get home and make it…

  8. Eva | Adventures in Cooking

    I was so excited when I saw that you won, HOORAY!! Very well-deserved, which is evident through this post alone. These photographs are seriously amazing, I don’t think I’ve ever needed caprese as badly as I do right now. Looks so wonderful. And congratulations again!

  9. Megan Gordon

    Congratulations x 100! Exciting news, and I think you’re absolutely right about 2013: it’s really still just getting going and look what you’ve got going on! Amazing. Hope to see you soooooon.

  10. Lara R.

    Congratulations Ashley! This is awesome and so well deserved! I’m really looking forward to your upcoming book as well, 2013 is going to be a fantastic year!

  11. Laura

    Congratulations, Congratulations, Congratulations! You are an amazing artist and a rare talent who is definitely doing what they are meant to do – making the world more beautiful; one photo and one recipe at a time!

  12. Cookie and Kate

    Ashley, congratulations! It’s so wonderfully redeeming when the universe yells, “Yes, go this direction!” I love the way you write about food and how it intersects your life, and this post is a prime example of that. This recipe looks stellar… but I have to say, I’ll always love peanut butter and honey on toast, too.

  13. Laura

    Ah, congratulations on your win Ashley! There were so many excellent nominees, so earning the award must be such a huge deal. This is most certainly the right way πŸ™‚

    And ridiculously beautiful, delicious, perfect caprese open facer salad-y thing. I want that right now.

  14. Renee

    Congratulations! So well deserved Ashley. You do beautiful work on these pages and it’s a pleasure to stop by and see what gorgeous creation you are working on. Like this sandwich number. Yum.

  15. sara

    ashley! the pictures are so gorgeous. The last thing I need after vacation is more bread but all those delicious things on some greens would be so delicious. and woo hoo to your award! It IS your year, lady!

  16. Katrina Hall

    So, so happy for you! I let out a screech (I’m sure you heard) when I saw the award- so many congratulations, and yes, keep on keeping on. You are so gifted !

  17. Mary@SiftingFocus

    Love being able to share with you in the celebration of your award. So deserved! From your enticing recipes to the beautiful photography, your blog is an inspiring place to visit.

  18. thelittleloaf

    I’ve made caprese so many times before but you’ve managed to make it look SO beautiful. A great recipe, I’m sure, but also a very talented cook and photographer to make it look like that πŸ™‚

  19. Abby {Munchin' Mel}

    congratulations on the award, ashley! you deserved it! the photography and food styling in this post is absolutely incredible – so gorgeous! you have such a gift πŸ™‚

  20. Ole @cookingbrains

    This is great news. Haha, it seems like this is going to be quite the year for you – and well deserved it is. I absolutely love everything about this lunch, and that comes from someone who loathes avocado. I’ll make sure to give it a second chance, as soon as the tomatoes here in the Netherlands are ripe enough and have all the flavour they need.

  21. Cookbook Create

    What absolutely gorgeous photos to compliment a delicious recipe! Would you recommend any other types of bread for this dish?

  22. Chantelle@themarketbasket

    Congratulations on a well deserved win. Your blog is one of my favourites to read and I find your photography and recipes to be so inspiring. May you continue to create lots of glorious food to keep all of your fans happy πŸ™‚

  23. meg jones wall

    a huge and heartfelt congratulations – your blog is one of my absolute favorites and i’m so glad you won! gorgeous photos, as always, and this recipe has my mouth watering. can’t wait to try it out – i love me a peanut butter & honey sandwich, so i trust you that this is worth the extra effort πŸ™‚

  24. saltandserenity

    Congratulations Ashley! Well deserved honor. I have been a huge fan ever since I discovered “The Last Chocolate Chip Cookie…” post on your blog. That cookie has become the gold standard by which I judge all other cookies!

  25. Jacquie

    Congrats and bravo! Roast tomato, advocado, burrata, and basil…..most of my favorite things, on bread. I’m in love!

  26. Christy@SweetandSavoring

    I am in awe of this sandwich- the way you describe it, plus the artful photos…I’m just mesmerized. This sandwich cannot be made soon enough.
    And what an honor! Congratulations on your award πŸ™‚

  27. Food Service Warehouse

    Congratulations on your mention in Saveur, thats huge! This recipe has me in absolute awe! Can’t wait to get some tomatoes in the oven and begin making this!

  28. NIcole Burley

    Wow !! Congratulations – what a honour! Keep up the great work

  29. Amy

    oh my goodness – I dedicated my whole morning to making this ( I was in the mood to make bread anyways!) and it is AMAZING.

  30. Neha

    Just tried this recipe yesterday, and instead of toasted bread, used a thick slice of a soft, thick, freshly made bread loaf. It tasted so good, and I was surprised at how easy it was to make, and how artistic it looked in the end! My tomatoes, though, roasted in about 10-14 minutes, so I guess it varies by oven. (Also, I put it at 400 degrees F since I was a little impatient to eat. I’ll try it next time at the suggested temperature.) This is a delicious, elegant and easy recipe!! Thank you so much!

    PS: I LOVE your blog, and you really deserved the award!! I can’t wait to read your book. Good luck! πŸ™‚

  31. Ashley Fresa

    Congratulations on winning Food Blog of 2013! Love all of your stories that come with your blogs! This looks absolutely delicious and very summery! I love the use of Avocado to substitute butter or oil seems like a much healthier decision! If I don’t make a suggest myself, I bet this would taste even better on garlic bread! Thanks for the idea can’t wait to make this for lunch one day!

  32. Flavie

    This recipe is amazing. The taste is just great. It is simple, fresh and easy to do. Love it!

  33. Donna

    This all looks so great. The recipe looks simple enough. Now the question is can I actually do it.