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Caprese Salad Crostini Recipe with Garlic Balsamic Vinaigrette

Caprese Salad Crostin with Garlic Balsamic VinaigretteSpring is finally here.  I swear if I see that groundhog, I’m going to wring his neck.  Well not really, because I’m non-violent.  But the extra six weeks of winter literally almost pushed me over the edge!  These fresh caprese salad crostini are a perfect appetizer or make a great addition to a light and simple dinner.  I served them with Chicken Breasts, Roasted Broccoli and Black Beans.  Caprese Salad just tastes like spring to me, and served this way transformed a wintry meal into a burst of freshness.

My fresh mozzarella came from the Dallas Mozzarella Company [1], a local factory making fresh handmade cheeses of truly exceptional quality.  I’ve been meaning to take their Hands on Cheese Making class [2] for at least five years and just haven’t made it happen yet.  Trust me, I look hot in a hair net.  And the class includes a factory tour, a wine and cheese tasting, and take home samples of your own creations.  I think that’s a description of about my perfect day!  I’ve had a fascination with factories ever since I worked in a service company who sold things via service, but didn’t actually produce anything.  Apparently, the grass is always greener.  It’s a shame I never managed to tour 3M in college when I had the chance.  At that point, of course, endless lectures on the processes, software, and plants involved in making Scotch tape were hideously boring to me.  In any case, the Hands on Cheese Making Class is on my Bucket List.  I can knock out a factory tour and food creation in one fell swoop!

Caprese Salad Crostini

Baguette

1 clove garlic

olive oil

1 /2 lb ball fresh mozzarella

3 vine ripened tomatoes

12-15 basil leaves, halved

Garlic Balsamic Vinagrette

Preheat oven to 425.  Cut baguette into half-inch slices – or approx 25-30 pieces.  Smash garlic with a large knife, peel and break into two halves.  Rub top of each baguette slice with one of the pieces of garlic, as it disintegrates, switch to the other piece.  Using a brush, paint the top of each slice with olive oil.  Place each slice on a cookie sheet and bake 5-7 minutes until your crostini are lightly browned.

Slice mozzarella into 1/4 inch slices, then half or quarter as necessary to fit onto crostini.  Slice tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices, then quarter.  Top crostinis with mozzarella, then basil, then tomato, then drizzle with Garlic Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Garlic Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

1/2 c. olive oil

1/4 c. water

1.5 tbsp fresh garlic, minced

1/2 tsp Murray River salt

8 turns fresh ground pepper

For the vinaigrette, combine vinegar, oil, water, garlic, salt and pepper.  Whisk together then let rest for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to combine.  Whisk again before serving.  Keep remainder in fridge for up to two weeks.

[3]