Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Favorite Use for Garden Tomatoes: Crostini

I once told a friend who says she can't cook how easy these are to make, and she replied, "But it requires a heating element." Come on, anyone can toast bread, right? That's all the cooking required!

My tomatoes only started ripening around the second week of August, probably due to the lack of sunshine with the nonstop storms we've had. My basil plant, on the other hand, is about 2 feet tall! And both are required for one of my favorite summertime snacks. The other must is fresh mozzarella -- the soft, creamy kind that's packed or stored in water. Don't buy the cheaper, rubbery variety at the store. That stuff is fine for melting and disguising behind other ingredients, but with something this fresh you need the good cheese.

Some people will want to toss it back in the oven to cook the tomatoes a bit and melt the cheese, but I like the summery freshness of it my way.

1 baguette
3-4 plum tomatoes, sliced
1 ball fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
5-7 fresh basil leaves
Olive oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Slice the baguette into thin pieces and rub a bit of olive oil on them. Toast the bread on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes, until the bread is golden brown. You can also just throw them in your toaster oven, but that tends to brown just the outside instead of toasting the bread thoroughly for a nicer crunch.
After that, it's easy assembly. Top each piece of bread with a slice of mozzarella (the cheese acts as a nice barrier for the bread against the wetness of the tomato). Then top them each with a slice of tomato (and plum tomatoes are better because they have less water, leading to less sogginess). Slice your basil leaves into thin strips and scatter them over the tomatoes. Follow with dashes of salt and pepper. That's it!

These work great as party appetizers. You can also lay the ingredients out like I did above, but in larger quantities, and let guests assemble the finger food themselves.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm, this used to be one of my favorite snack too... until I got braces. Only one year to go! You should try drizzling a tiny bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar sometimes...


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