Words can not express how much I love this appetizer! In fact, it’s what I had for dinner last night. I didn’t intend to eat only the crostini for dinner but I ate several of them, which led to several more and before I knew it, I was full. This is one of those appetizers that is always a hit at parties and potlucks. Plus, it’s delicious, full of fresh flavors and easy to make. I seriously think I could eat it everyday and never grow tired of it!
Since it’s hot right now, I grilled the bread outside on the grill so I wouldn’t heat up the house by turning on the oven. I used small mozzarella balls called ciliegine that I got at Trader Joe’s. I sliced each cherry-sized ball of mozzarella into several slices and put 2-3 slices on each piece of grilled bread. Sometimes I like to put the cheese on the bread while it’s on the grill so it melts. If you want a little zip, add a few dashes of crushed red pepper flakes to the tomato-basil topping. Yumm!
Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Crostini
-recipe from Williams-Sonoma
Easy to make, crostini are an excellent way to showcase fresh seasonal ingredients. This simple combination of ripe tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese makes a perfect beginning to an alfresco meal.
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing, plus 1/4 cup
1 baguette, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
Salt and coarsely ground pepper, to taste
8 vine-ripened tomatoes, about 1 1/2 lb. total
1/2 cup slivered fresh basil leaves
2 Tbs. finely minced red onion
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbs. aged balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Brush a baking sheet with olive oil and arrange the baguette slices on the sheet in a single layer. Brush the tops with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until crisp and golden, 15 to 18 minutes. If not using immediately, let the crostini cool, then store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.
Core, seed and dice the tomatoes. In a bowl, stir together the tomatoes, half of the basil, the onion, garlic, vinegar, the 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper.
Slice the mozzarella into 1/4-inch-thick pieces or into smaller pieces so they fit on the crostini. To assemble, lay a piece of mozzarella on each crostini and spoon 1 to 2 Tbs. of the tomato salad on top. Garnish each with a pinch of the remaining basil. Serve immediately.