Thursday, October 20, 2011

More Mozzarella Fun! Caprese Mini Tarts

This is what happens when I make 2 batches of fresh mozzarella.  You get bombarded with recipes using it!  I mean if one ball of cheese is good, 2 has to be better right?  We have had all things cheesy this week, so I hope you are finding something you can use it for!  Look back at my pizza blog, make a great Pizza Margherita!! Mine turned out practically perfect last night.  I might even have to go update my sauce recipe, I think I have something new and better!  My crust was crispy and thin, and the cheese, well......obviously AH-MAZING!

On a sad, unfortunate note.  Please bow your heads......"Dear Herb Garden Gods, Thank you for the gorgeous abundance of herbs this summer.  I am so sorry I became preoccupied and forgot to pick everything that was left so it could be dried and enjoyed all summer.  I especially want to express my deepest sorrow to my dear, precious, sweet, basil.  I needed you much longer than you were alive, and I will miss you until next summer.  I will think of you each time I pay 4.00 for 6 leaves of basil in a prepackaged clear hanging box.  We will see each other again next year.  Thyme, rosemary, parsley and chives, I will miss you too.  You are much cheaper in the store, but none the less, nothing will be like you, fresh and lush, nurtured by my love and care.  Love, Your sad gardener, Chris"
I decided I wanted more caprese but not in a traditional caprese salad.  I saw this recipe and of course changed it up.  It is the perfect marriage of bruschetta and a caprese salad, I swear!!  It is easy to eat, tasty and perfect for the holidays coming up!  Can use it as an appetizer, or a side dish. 
Here is what you will need for your Caprese Mini Tarts:
(recipe makes 8 tarts)

3-4 small Roma tomatoes sliced thinly
1lb fresh mozzarella ball sliced into 16 slices *may have to cut to fit into tart*
Basil (5-7 leaves fresh, 1 tbsp dried) fresh preferred
8 slices of white bread.  *the cheaper the better on this one*
Olive oil
Salt to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut crusts off of sliced bread.  Using a rolling pin, roll remaining square of dough to flatten and thin out slightly.  Spray muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.  Carefully push a slice of bread into each muffin cup forming a bowl shape.  The bread will rip easy and it won't be the end of the world but try to keep it in tact.  Do this with all remaining bread.  Brush with olive oil.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven and leave in muffin tin, set aside while preparing other ingredients.

2.  Slice cheese and tomatoes.  Salt tomatoes and let sit while you prepare basil.  You can tear it, chop it, or chiffonade it.  

3.  Shells should be cooled and slightly crispy.  Alternate a slice of mozzarella then tomato in each shell.  Start with mozzarella first.  Each shell should accept 2 slices of each, cheese and tomato.  When all are filled, place back in oven for 2-4 minutes.  Remove.  Sprinkle tops with basil, and serve.  

As the recipe says, the cheaper the bread the better. I will be nice and doughy!  Prepare your tomatoes first, so that the salt can sit on them a few minutes.  These can be served hot or room temperature.  I do not care for them cold.  I like the cheese slightly softened and the sweetness of the tomatoes after being roasted for a few minutes.  

Enjoy these little gems!  They are DELISH!  Let me know how you like them!

Your "loves all things caprese" chefwannabe,

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