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Easy recipe for a tomato bruschetta that features mozzarella cheese cubes and fresh basil. Serve with toasted crostini for the perfect finger food.
This simple recipe is proof some of the best recipes have few ingredients and are easy to put together.
Served as an appetizer or light snack and a great way to use the bounty of ripe tomatoes available during the summer months.
Tomatoes are one of the main ingredients so they really need to be the best ones available. In the summer, garen fresh tomatoes are the best, but in the winter the larger slicing type ones tend to be more pink and kind of tasteless. During the winter I’m using “on the vine” tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes.
If there are any mealy parts to the tomatoes in the middle, cut those out and discard them when removing the seeds.
It’s easy to de-seed tomatoes using a clean fingertip. Just reach in there between the walls of the tomato and gently scoop the seeds and the extra liquid.
DO NOT squeeze the tomatoes to get the seeds out it makes them mushy.
No matter which kind of tomatoes you choose to use, remove the seeds and the wet part from the middle of the tomato. Put the diced tomatoes onto a paper towel to absorb a bit of the moisture before adding them to the diced mozzarella cheese.
Don’t add the salt too soon before serving, the salt will pull the moisture out of the tomatoes and put it right into the bottom of your bowl. Alternatively, you can salt your tomatoes and allow the juice to run out before mixing them with the other ingredients.
Fresh mozzarella cheese tastes the best in this recipe. It is not as salty as the blocks of mozzarella available in most grocery stores.
Fresh mozzarella has a softer texture that I find more appealing in this dish. Because it’s softer it will also absorb a bit of the tomato juice and will definitely hold on to more balsamic vinegar if you choose to add it at the end. I have used the firmer blocks of mozzarella before and it still tastes amazing. So if that’s all you have, go ahead and use it.
Our recipe uses granulated garlic or garlic powder. Some fresh cloves of garlic seem to be potent than others. Biting into a hot piece of raw garlic can ruin the entire experience.
I feel the same way about winter basil as I do winter tomatoes, so I tend to use dried basil during winter because it seems to be more flavorful than the basil crammed into clear plastic shells from the store. I suppose I should try growing my basil indoors in the winter.
Serve this with crostini, slices of Italian bread that have been lightly toasted. When I am not busy being lazy, I lightly brush my baguette pieces with olive oil or butter before toasting in a 400 Degree F oven.
Bagel chips also make a great substitute!
HOT OR COLD
This is pretty much ready to eat as soon as it has been mixed well. I prefer it straight out of the refrigerator or at room temperature. I have a friend that prefers it hot. She tops toasted bread pieces with it and then bakes it in a 400ºF oven until the cheese has melted.
For a really special treat, try drizzling some balsamic vinegar, or a balsamic reduction, over the tomato and mozzarella after putting it on your toasted bread pieces! Now you’ve got a Caprese Bruschetta!!
HOW TO STORE
Leftovers should be placed into an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It will be safer for longer than that, but the tomatoes and cheese will start to turn mushy.
I don’t recommend freezing. Both the tomatoes and the mozzarella will get weird after thawing. This dish comes together in under 10 minutes so it’s actually easier to make new than it is to thaw frozen anyway.
MORE ITALIAN RECIPES YOU NEED TO SEE
- Cut mozzarella cheese into small cubes. Place in a bowl.
- Cut tomatoes in half and remove seeds. Turn over onto paper towels to drain some of the liquid. Cut tomatoes into cubes roughly the same size as the mozzarella cubes. Place in a bowl with tomatoes.
- Cover with garlic powder, basil, salt, and pepper. Drizzle olive oil over the top. Gently stir to mix. This can be eaten at room temperature or refrigerated.
- Preheat oven to 425degrees F.
- Thinly slice the baguette on the bias and place on a baking sheet.
- Bake bread until it begins to lightly brown on the edges, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Can be plated separately or tomato mixture can be placed on top of bread for serving.
- Drizzle with balsamic vinegar is desired,
- Bread can be rubbed with cut garlic and drizzled with olive oil prior to baking.