It’s official. I am craving all things fresh and springy RIGHT NOW.
And bread. Because I am always craving bread in some form. Literally, always. The freshly baked loaves from Safeway that are still warm when you buy them? I’m not sure life gets any better than that. Except for the moment when you get into your car, take the bread out of the grocery bag, check to make sure no one is watching (let’s be honest, even if they were, I’d still do it), and rip a huge hunk of said warm bread off the loaf to devour on your way home.
So when you pair fresh tomatoes, basil, olive oil and mozzarella with bread, you know I’m going to be one happy camper. This was the perfect meal for me…well, this and some wine and some leftover pasta from the night before. All before my basketball game. Yes, I had wine before basketball. I thought it would give me wings. Spoiler alert: it didn’t.
- 4 cups grape tomatoes
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 loaf of bread, sliced diagonally to maximize surface area — I used French, but you could do semolina, baguette, etc.
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1/2 cup basil leaves, thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium bowl add the grape tomatoes and garlic cloves. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper.
- In a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish, place the tomatoes and garlic cloves, ensuring they are in just 1 layer. Roast for 20 minutes, and then stir. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of hot water, if too dry in appearance. Return to the oven and cook for 20 to 30 more minutes. When ready, the tomatoes will have begun to shrivel and the liquid in the dish should have thickened.
When you remove the tomatoes from the oven, switch on broiler. Lightly toast both sides of bread and remove from oven.
In a bowl, lightly mash the roasted tomatoes and combine with basil and another tablespoon of olive oil. Top each piece of bread with a slice of mozzarella and pop back in the oven under the broiler for another 1-2 minutes or until cheese has started to melt.
- To finish, top each piece with a tablespoon or two of the tomato mixture (you can add balsamic vinegar, if desired) and serve immediately.