If you ask me what dish represents summer best, I'd have to say Caprese Salad, or any variation of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. Fresh tomatoes picked right off the vine mixed with bright, sweet basil and fresh, creamy mozzarella to cut through the acidity... it's a trifecta of flavor.
Every day after work, I go outside with the dogs and survey the crops. During the peak of cherry tomato season, I'd stand next to the planter and pluck one after another off the vine and into my mouth. I harvested daily, and the vines were replenished daily. The same can be said for my basil plants, I'd tear off a handful every other day or so for a dish, and it would be replenished the next day. I honestly can't put into words how rewarding it is to have a garden, even one as small and challenged as mine!
When my roma tomatoes finally started coming in, they were plentiful. I picked a basketful and left them on the counter to eat at our leisure. We were having company one evening, and I decided to utilize the fresh tomatoes. Simple bruschetta typically combines tomatoes, basil, onions, and balsamic with toasted bread, so to make this a bit more interesting, I decided to add melted fresh mozzarella to the bread. The end result was a great contrast of flavors, textures, and temperatures. Each ingredient's flavors held their own, and were in perfect harmony.
Tips and Trades:
-Try using different tomatoes, such as heirloom, for a gorgeous colorful dish.
-Select any bread variety for additional flavor, I used a kalamata olive sourdough from Whole Foods Bakery.
-Eliminate the garlic if you wish, but we all loved it and weren't bothered by the bite of fresh garlic.
Bruschetta with Melted Mozzarella Toasts
2 lbs. diced, seeded Roma tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c. minced red onion
1 c. basil leaves, chiffonade
2 tbsp. balsamic vinaigrette
2 tbsp. EVOO
Salt and pepper
1 loaf of bread, sliced thinly on a bias
1 lb. ball of fresh mozzarella
Add garlic and onion to a mixing bowl.
Toss with balsamic vinaigrette, salt and pepper.
Set aside for 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes, basil and EVOO to the garlic and onions, toss well to combine.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat broiler to high.
Place bread on a baking sheet and broil for 2 minutes, watching carefully so it doesn't burn.
Remove from the oven, flip, top with mozzarella and place back under the broiler.
Broil for another 2-3 minutes, until melted and slightly browned, watch carefully!
Remove tomato mixture from the fridge, taste and season as necessary.
Place on a platter with toasts and serve immediately.
And now, if you remember reading this post, I wrote about my parents letting my sisters and I choose fruit trees to plant at our new house. My sister was looking through old photo albums and found this photo! Here she is with my dad, planting her apple tree!