What is it about the combination of fresh mozzarella with sweet, ripe tomatoes and fresh basil that is just so irresistible?? I have to admit, I’ve actually invited people over to my house, just to give myself a reason to serve fresh mozzarella with tomatoes and basil. Sprinkled with olive oil and balsamic, on a piece of toasted baguette…is there anything better??
Well, actually, I would argue that there is. I’d like to introduce you to my Toasted Caprese Sandwich… slices of fresh mozzarella with slow-roasted tomatoes and fresh basil pesto on soft pain de campagne, toasted in the oven until warm and melty.
- 1 loaf of pain de campagne (sourdough, ciabatta, or italian bread would work)
- Fresh Mozzarella
For the tomatoes:
- Tomatoes (Baby Roma, plum, or cherry)
- Olive Oil
- 1-2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
- Salt and Pepper
For the pesto:
- 1 big bunch of basil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup parmesan (or parmesan cheese blend)
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 6 Tbps+ olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
For the tomatoes: Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise. Toss tomato halves in a few tablespoons of olive oil, minced garlic, and a little salt and pepper. Place tomatoes on baking sheet, cut side up. Cook on middle oven rack for about 3 hours until the tomatoes are deep red and reduced in size. **If you’re short on time, you can roast the tomatoes for about 25 minutes in a 425 degree oven. Have a little extra time? Try 200 degrees for 6-8 hours. Slow roasting at low temperatures allows the flavors in the tomatoes to concentrate, giving you a really nice, caramelized flavor. It’s worth the wait!
For the Basil Pesto: Pull the basil leaves off of the stem. Place in a food processor and pulse slightly, giving the leaves a course chop. Add all other ingredients, except the oil, and mix until well blended. Gradually incorporate the oil until you reach your desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings. ** These measurements will give you a thick, speadable pesto. If desired, add more olive oil for a thinner sauce consistency, which would be delicious on pasta!
To compose the sandwich, spread pesto onto one slice of bread. Top with thin slices of fresh mozzarella. Place roasted tomatoes on mozzarella, cut side down. (If your tomatoes are very moist, you may want to remove some of the seeds to prevent the sandwich from becoming soggy.) Top with another slice of bread. Wrap tightly in foil and cook in a 375 degrees oven for about 20 minutes or until bread is lightly toasted and cheese is warm and melty.