sabato 19 aprile 2008

Tomato Mozzarella Appetizers

If you’re looking for a way to get your guests raving the moment they walk in the door, greet them with a scrumptious tomato and mozzarella appetizer that will delight all their senses. With a few basic ingredients, you can make a variety of different delicious appetizers just by altering how you put it together or changing an ingredient or two.

Start by having the following ingredients on hand. You won’t need all the ingredients for every variation, so once you decide on your favorites you can remove the unnecessary items from the list.

• Fresh, ripe tomatoes – large
• Fresh, ripe grape tomatoes
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Vinegar
• Basil
• Mozzarella, sliced
• Mini mozzarella balls
• Crostini bread
• Triscuits
• Fresh bread
• Skewers
• Garlic, minced, or garlic powder
• Onion, sliced

My personal favorite way to create a tomato-mozzarella appetizer is to slice the tomatoes into wedges, and arrange them on a baking sheet. Add a slice of mozzarella to the top of each wedge, and sprinkle with basil, a little bit of oil, and garlic, if desired. Bake at about 350 degrees for fifteen to twenty minutes, or until the cheese is melted. You can add a slice of onion before putting the cheese on top, if you choose.

For another variation, try slicing the tomatoes instead of making wedges, and place your tomato, cheese, onion and seasonings on triscuits or crostini bread before baking. This can also be served cold, but it is oh-so-delicious when warm!
You can also use the grape tomatoes, mini mozzarella balls and onion to make little tomato-mozzarella skewers. Simply alternate the tomato, mozzarella balls, and sliced onion on a skewer, and season as desired. A super easy, delicious and simple to eat crowd-pleaser!

Finally, try arranging tomato slices and mozzarella slices in a circular pattern on a serving plate. Season with oil and vinegar, basil, garlic and/ or salt and pepper. Serve with your delicious fresh bread!

I’m certain that there are dozens of other creative ways to combine tomatoes and mozzarella. You can easily take any combination of these ingredients to make something uniquely yours. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try switching out the tomato for zucchini. Check back with us in the coming weeks for the release of Maria Liberati’s latest book, The Italian Kitchen, for more delicious appetizer recipes!

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