Giada De Laurentiis' Trick For Sweeter Tomatoes

A Caprese salad is a side so sumptuous it can function as a main course. While summertime is when it truly shines, there's no bad time to make a Caprese salad. The not-quite-a-salad salad works with all kinds of tomatoes, though heirloom tomatoes truly pop alongside thick slabs of mozzarella or burrata. Once you've settled on the perfect cheese-to-tomato ratio, sprinkle on a helping of basil, break out your best EVOO, and dig in!

According to La Cucina Italiana, a traditional Caprese utilizes four essential ingredients from Italy's Campania region. All you need are tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil. Other recipes put their own spin on the dish, adding balsamic, lemon zest, and other non-traditional toppings. While you can spruce up your Caprese with new, creative additions, there's a simple trick to making your salad taste all the better, sans any additional ingredients. 

Celebrity chef Giada DeLaurentiis' has no shortage of cooking tips and tricks. For Caprese, she offers one particular technique for boosting the flavors of summer even when the sun is no longer shining. For an ultra-sweet salad, all you need is some heat.

Sweeten the tomato juices by grilling them with oil

The sun does more for tomatoes than dry them out. According to Food & Wine, leaving tomatoes in the sun for roughly thirty minutes warms them through, releasing juices and enhancing their sweetness. This technique works well enough for Caprese salads, but for the days you don't want to combat the bugs or the cold, there's an easier way to achieve the same effect.

"My favorite thing right now is grilling my tomatoes for Caprese salad," DeLaurentiis told Food & Wine. Rather than biding her time so the tomatoes can ripen in the sun, DeLaurentiis skips ahead and takes matters into her own hands. To maximize your Caprese salad, slice your tomato into thick slices, add olive oil and seasonings, and place them on the grill. You only need twenty seconds total to grill the tomatoes through. 

For the final step, DeLaurentiis recommends laying the still-hot tomatoes between each slab of mozzarella. With such proximity, the cheese melts, and you've turned a traditionally cold course into something folks will want multiple helpings of.