Friday, June 21, 2013

Caprese Crostini Plus 10 Variations for Easy Summer Meals

Caprese is so pretty! I could eat it year round. Also, if you grow a little basil and some grape tomatoes in a pot you have lunch almost daily. It's just so fresh, it's like eating a salad but with big hunks of bread and cheese! chEESE! CHEESE! I almost feel silly giving you a recipe for this because it's pretty much slice and serve.  But here you go, plus a few little variations for you. :-)   

Fresh Basil ( Julienned )
Grape Tomatoes sliced ( I like these becasue they are so sweet and easy to eat )
Fresh Mozzarella  sliced 1/4 thick
A loaf of French Bread sliced a little thicker than the mozzarella
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Cracked Black Pepper
Sea Salt or Kosher Salt

To make the Crostini preheat your oven to 375. Brush the bread with olive oil and pop in the oven for about 6 minutes. Let it cool then layer your mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. I sprinkle with a little more olive oil, some of your balsamic, then salt and pepper. 

Variations: Think about replacing the bread with a few of these ideas. 

1. Bowtie pasta, and dice the cheese. So good when the cheese gets all melty!
2. Try doing the bowtie pasta cold, just add a little parmesan salad dressing and you have a cold summer pasta salad 
3. Chopped hearts of romain lettuce 
4. Fresh baby spinach
5. Toasted Deli Thins, Peppridge Farms makes them as well as a few other companies, I prefer the multi grain. I ate this almost every day last summer! So yummy!
6. Spinach tortillas 
7. If you want your caprese crostini hot you could skip the first toasting part of the bread and go ahead and assemble everything (minus the balsamic) then pop it in the oven till the cheese is all bubbly. Then add your balsamic and drizzle with a little more olive oil.
8. Replace the grape tomatoes with a thick beefsteak tomato and just top it with the cheese, basil, olive oil, balsamic, and salt and pepper.
9. Make bite size hors d'oeuvres. Cut out the bread in little rounds or squares just a little larger than the tomato slice. Stack your bread, cheese, and tomato then salt and pepper, ad a whold leaf of basil and maybe a black olive if you like. Hold it together with a toothpick then sprinkle with your olive oil and balsamic. If you don't like olives try three of four capers cradled in the "boat" of the basil leaf. That would be the basil leaf facing down.
10. Caprese Kabob. Cook some cheese filled tortellini and start layering your tortellini, cheese, tomato, and basil on a skewer. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic then salt and pepper.

Here is one of my sandwich thin versions....honestly this is so good!

Below is a caprese salad I made using Aristotle Basil. I bought the basil at a cheese shop, the owner grew it for making pesto. Unfortunatly the shop is no longer there. I may have to order one of these plants online.

Well, if you have not guessed by now I really love caprese. :-) Don't forget this weekend is the SUPERMOON! I hope I can get a few good shots! My moon pictures never turn out so great, but since moonrise will be a good time (7:30am if you're in Kentucky) I've got my fingers crossed.

Have a great weekend everyone!