A Copycat Recipe for Tomatina’s Caprese Piadine
Hi! How are you? We have been having the craziest summer weather here this week. It has not only been over 100 degrees and we experienced the biggest thunder and lightening storm I have ever witnessed in all of my years living in the Bay Area. With all the heat and humidity happening this past week I have been focusing on preparing simple summer meals that don’t require a hot stove. I’m sharing one such meal today. It is a dupe for one of my all-time favorite items to order at one of our local restaurants.
If asked for a list of my most-loved restaurant dishes, the caprese piadine from Tomatina in Walnut Creek would without a doubt make my top five! I ordered this delicious Italian flatbread sandwich shortly after moving to the Bay Area over twenty years ago and have remained a loyal fan ever since. The juxtaposition of the creamy mozzarella, sweet herb-roasted tomatoes, tangy balsamic vinegar and crisp lettuce layered inside warm flatbread ensures that I rarely stray from ordering this favored menu item whenever I find myself in downtown Walnut Creek near mealtime.
Several years ago I started tinkering in the kitchen to try and recreate the caprese piadine with an easy, at-home version. After multiple attempts I have come up with a recipe that replicates everything I love best about a Tomatina caprese piadine, utilizing ingredients easily found at my local Trader Joe’s.
I use the Trader Joe’s frozen Tandoori naan as the base for my piadine. Naan is a great option to use for recipes that include flatbread as an ingredient. It is easy to keep on hand in the freezer. After just 1-2 minutes on the oven rack it transforms being soft and fluffy with a crispy exterior. The pre-sliced fresh mozzarella log from Trader Joe’s is identical to the mozzarella Tomatina uses on their piadine. It is a creamier alternative to the drier, shredded mozzarella cheese you might typically grab at a grocery store. The true star of this recipe are the flavorful, herb-roasted tomatoes. Taking the extra time to caramelize fresh tomatoes in the oven before assembling your piadine will make it well worth your while. Adding a drizzle of the sweet and tangy Trader Joe’s balsamic glaze is a delicious finishing touch, It has a nice, thick constancy that doesn’t cause the flatbread to become soggy, unlike if you were to just use balsamic vinegar.
Part of the fun of eating a piadine is using your hands to fold it in half and eat like a taco.
- Trader Joe’s Tandoori Naan
- basil pesto
- hearts of romaine
- roasted tomatoes (directions below)
- Trader Joe’s fresh mozzarella cheese log (pre-sliced)
- Trader Joe’s balsamic glaze
Directions for Roasting Tomatoes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice 1 pound of ripe tomatoes. Spread evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 35-55 minutes depending on size and thickness. The tomatoes are ready when they have started to shrink and have become a deeper shade of red.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat naan directly on oven rack for 1-2 minutes, until crisp. Spread basil pesto on naan. Place hearts of romaine on one side of the naan. Layer roasted tomatoes over hearts of romaine. Layer sliced fresh mozzarella over roasted tomatoes. Drizzle with balsamic glaze. Fold in half. Enjoy!
A caprese piadine is the perfect summer meal. It uses light, fresh, seasonal ingredients that are ideal on a hot, August night. Family members can easily customize their piadine to reflect their tastes. Have you tried the original at Tomatina? Let me know if you think my knock-off comes close! For other recipes that take advantage of Trader Joe’s ingredients click here, here, here and here (several of them use some of the same ingredients in case you find yourself with leftovers). You can find my Trader Joe’s grocery list here.