Thursday, June 30, 2011

Caprese Crostini

What is it about appetizers that makes you want to gorge yourself with them before you sit down to the main course, only to find yourself way too stuffed to eat another bite?  This is precisely the reason why I rarely serve appetizers in my kitchen, aside from a major holiday meal.  These crostini are certainly no exception.  I had pure motives behind making them (i.e. give the kids a quick munch while I continued to make multiple dishes for dinner that I had never made before--yep, I'm a dork like that).  Of course, the kids didn't even eat any of these, which left them available and vulnerable to me....munching while cooking is the perfect pastime!  I loved the freshness of the tomatoes and basil (the basil came from my very own deck potted herb garden!!  Woo-hoo!) and of course, summer is when tomatoes are at their finest.  I'm pretty sure that this crostini recipe will be making at least a couple more appearances this summer.

Caprese Crostini
A Karla original  

1 loaf crusty French bread
olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1/2-1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1-2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
a handful of fresh basil, cut into ribbons (chiffonade)
salt and pepper to taste
a drizzle of olive oil

Heat oven to low broil.

Slice bread on the bias, about 1/4 inch thick.  Pour some olive oil into a small bowl and brush onto bread slices with pastry brush and arrange on a baking sheet, oiled side down.  Brush tops of slices with additional oil.  Toast in oven approximately 5 minutes, until bread is lightly golden.  Remove from oven.

Using the side of a knife blade, smash the garlic cloves, opening them up out of the skins.  Rub the garlic cloves on one side of the toasted bread.  Top with mozzarella cheese and place back in oven until cheese is melted, 2-3 minutes.  Remove to serving platter.

To slice basil leaves chiffonade-style, lay the leaves flat on top of each other.  Roll the leaves length-wise and, starting at one end, slice your knife across the roll to the other end.  Lightly loosen the ribbons.

Place tomato slices on each crostini and scatter the basil over the tomatoes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired to taste.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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