Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Crostini
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
- 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.