Friday, August 21, 2009

Insalata Caprese Crostini (aka, Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil on Toast)

I realize I have a very similar recipe on the site already, but it's summer and the tomatoes are straight from heaven (via the dirt of North Carolina's local farms), and I can never get enough fresh mozzarella (especially when it comes from the farmer's market, and you're kind of scared of touching it because it's so soft and creamy), and this one has bread involved, which is amazing, so it's different. I don't care.

At the farmer's market, Hollywood just got a grab bag of different varieties of tomatoes, so I have no idea what kinds we actually ended up using, but having a slightly different color and flavor on each slice was kind of fun. Whatever kind you use, make sure it's ripe and fresh and divine, and you'll be fine.

Some people would have put balsamic vinegar on this dish. I'm told that such is horribly inauthentic (I personally don't care a thing about authenticity), but I really think it isn't needed. The simplicity of this dish really brings out the freshness and quality of the ingredients, so a super-strong flavor like that would be too much, I think.

Insalata Caprese Crostini (aka, Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil on Toast)

for the crostini
  • 1 fresh, French baguette, sliced about 1/2 inch thick on the diagonal
  • extra virgin olive oil
for the salad
  • Fresh, ripe, firm, amazing tomatoes
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Heat the oven on broil. Arrange the bread slices on a cookie sheet, and brush the tops with olive oil. Broil for a few minutes (maybe 3 -5, depending on your oven), until the tops are golden and crispy, but the interior is still soft.

Cut the tomatoes in half, then slice them into half-circles. Cut the mozzarella into similarly-shaped and -sized pieces. Top the bread with the tomato and cheese, then drizzle some more olive oil over top. Salt and pepper to taste.

Top each slice with the basil, and serve immediately (don't let them get soggy--the texture is half the fun).