I love the beautiful tomatoes the summer brings. I am lucky enough to work with talented farmers at the Farmers market. The abundance of heirloom tomatoes is heaven.
But in the winter when local tomatoes are out of season I turn to oven drying tomatoes.
This is a lovely little appetizer that is as easy as it is delicious. All the components can be made ahead of time for easy entertaining.
The amounts on the tomato, bread and mozzarella all can be changed to your needs. If you need more just make more.
1 baguette sliced into 1 inch slices
1/2 cup olive oil
10 baby mozzarella balls
5 Roma tomatoes
1 cup good balsalmic vinegar
1 table spoon of sugar
4 bunches of basil leaves
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 grated parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove
another 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
(Oven dried tomatoes)
Cut the Roma tomatoes in half length wise and place, cut side up, on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Sat and pepper and place in a 250 degree oven for 2-3 hours until most of the moisture has cooked out. You don't want them completely dried out. Let cool.
While the tomatoes are in the oven, place the balsamic vinegar and the sugar in a small pot and place on the stove over medium heat. Reduce the vinegar until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Run your finger though it and it should leave a clear trail where you finger was. Set aside.
Place the basil, garlic clove, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a food processor or blender and pulse until well combined. While the processor is on drizzle with olive oil until the pesto is smooth.
After the tomatoes are out of the oven, raise the temperature to 350 degrees. With a pastry brush, brush each side of the baguette slices with olive oil. lay on a sheet pan. Salt and pepper lightly.
Bake in the over for about 8-10 minutes until lightly golden on the edges. Remove from the oven and turn each slice over. Return to the oven and bake for another 5 min. or until golden on this side. Remove from oven and cool.
Place the toasted bread slices on a platter. top with a small dollop of basil pesto, top that with a tomato slice, cut side up. Place a baby mozzarella ball on each. To finish, drizzle the reduced balsamic syrup over the platter.