Taste of Summer: Summer Caprese with Pistachio Pesto

Taste of Summer: Summer Caprese with Pistachio Pesto

July 28, 2022

Categories: Legends Magazine, Lifestyle

The Kiawah Island Club’s Chef Kelly Franz serves up a recipe for eight.




  • 2 fresh mozzarella balls, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup raw pistachios
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon peeled garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced (reserve zest)
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons+ Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2-3 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ small watermelon, peeled and cut into triangles
  • 4 ripe peaches, peeled and scooped with a melon baller
  • Maldon sea salt flakes, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons micro basil, or large basil sliced thin
  • ¼ cup toasted pistachios, chopped fine
  • zest of one lemon, chopped fine


Combine mozzarella, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, and dried basil in a mixing bowl. Salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of crushed red pepper, if using. Can be done one hour before serving, and up to one full day ahead.


In a 4-cup food processor, blend together fresh basil, mint, and ¼ cup raw pistachios for 1 minute. Add garlic and lemon juice, puree, then add ¾ cup of extra virgin olive oil slowly until incorporated. Pulse in Parmesan and salt to taste (do not over mix after adding cheese). Makes 2 cups.


Bring honey and ¼ cup balsamic vinegar to a simmer in a small saucepan. Reduce by half, stirring often. Allow to cool completely before use.


Layer sliced tomatoes, marinated mozzarella, and watermelon wedges. Drizzle them with pesto and chilled balsamic reduction. Place halved cherry tomatoes and peach balls around the plate. Garnish with micro basil, toasted pistachio crumbs, sea salt flakes, and lemon zest.



Meet The Kiawah Island Club Chef

Kelly Franz | The River Course

The daughter of an Air Force sergeant, Franz spent her childhood in Europe. At a young age, she fell in love with supermarkets, cooking big breakfasts, and experimenting with food. Franz moved to Charleston to attend the Culinary Institute in 2002 and landed a job at downtown darling Magnolias. She spent eight years there as chef de cuisine and then another five as executive chef. In 2019, she won “Marc Collins Chef Award” at Charleston Wine + Food festival. When an opportunity presented itself at Kiawah, she was ready. Franz’s style is simple but eclectic, composed but outrageously flavorful.