I feel as though I should let you all know how much I DESPISE tomatoes. Icky!!! Some forms of tomatoes are ok: Tomato sauce= great! Ketchup= even better! Sundried tomatoes= delishhhhh. But raw, uncooked tomatoes= GROSS!!! But i have realized that I can't live on sun dried tomatoes as my tomato-y source. So as I was watching my most favorite FoodNetwork show, The Barefoot Contessa, I saw my beloved Ina make a gorgeous oven roasted caprese salad. Why not give it a shot for a dinner with friends I was attending? I was happily surprised at how easy, simple, yet DELICIOUS it was! I have now had it two nights in a row :)
You will need:
8 Roma tomatoes
16 slices GOOD Mozzarella cheese (one for each slice of tomato)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbs. kosher salt
1 tbs. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tbs. Splenda (or other sugar substitute)
3 tbs. fresh chopped basil (stack leaves one on top of the other, roll up like a cigar, and run your knife down the cigar.)
Preheat your oven to 275*
1. Cut 8 Roma Tomatoes in half, length wise.
2. Scoop out JUST the seeds (leave the core in, it has lots of flavor).
3. Place cut side up on a baking sheet and dress with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and a TINY TINY TINY bit of Splenda (Barefoot uses sugar but I don't like the taste of cooked sugar, and Splenda is a much healthier alternative)
4. Cook at 275* for 2 hours (YES, 2!!!). Don't worry, you won't need to sit around and watch them. Just let your oven do the work. Go to the pumpkin patch (like I did :-D), take a shower, watch a movie. When the timer goes off, they're finished!
5. Let them cool at room temperature for about 15 minutes so they don't melt the mozzarella.
6. Layer the tomatoes and mozzarella, sprinkle with fresh basil, and top with a little bit more of ground black pepper.