Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Roasted Caprese Pops

About once a month my two best girlfriends and I try to get together for a girl's date night. We cook up a frenzy, spend hours gossiping and catching up and discussing the latest "Housewives" endeavors (to Lindsay's dismay). Usually, we fill up on the appetizers before we even are able to get to the actual dinner. So this time we decided to just made an appetizer and a salad (I guess we didn't get the memo that they should be small appetizers and just one would have been good enough). Of course, we each made something Italian and with lots of cheese. But hey, who doesn't LOVE cheese?! Lindsay made a BEAUTIFUL pizza with burrata cheese (holy yumminess with that cheese! It's mozzarella and cream and just totally falls apart in your mouth!), Katie made one of the most (if not THE most) delicious salads I've ever had with craisins (which Lindsay doesn't understand), pears, strawberries, feta cheese, and a beautiful baby greens mix, and I made caprese pops. Hopefully you've all seen my original caprese salad recipe (here) with the roasted tomatoes. I changed it a little bit by using grape tomatoes instead of big roma tomatoes. I was also running short on time so I cranked up the temerature in the oven so they roasted quickly. They're not as sweet as the roma tomatoes but because they're so small, they worked very well. I bought some mozzarella cheese balls that were sitting in seasoned olive oil, and put them on toothpicks with some fresh basil. Because the tomatoes were so small, each pop made for the perfect bite! Next time you have only a little bit of time and need to make something that's not too filling but very satisfying, this is a great choice. The tomatoes can be served warm or at room temperature for a refreshing summer dish! P.S. You ABSOLUTELY can make this dish WITHOUT roasting the tomatoes (I just do NOT like raw tomatoes. ICK!).

What you'll need:
1 container grape tomatoes
1 container mozzarella balls (plain or seasoned is fine)
Olive oil & balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt & pepper
Fresh basil leaves
Tooth picks

1. Preheat your oven to 450* (if you're short on time. If you have 2 hours to spare, preheat to 275*).
2. Rinse your tomatoes then slice them in half, length wise, and place them in a large glass bowl.
3. To the bowl, drizzle olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Give it a good toss and place tomatoes on a baking sheet (no need to grease it because the olive oil will keep the tomatoes from sticking).
4. Cook for 20-30 minutes (if slow roasting at 275*, then cook for 1 1/2-2 hours).
5. Once finished cooking (your nose will know!!!) take them out and let cool for a few minutes so they're easy to handle.

6. Once cooled, place one half on a toothpick, followed by a mozzarella ball, basil leaf, and finally, the top half of the tomato. Repeat until you've used them all up and have enough to satisfy everyone!

enjoy :)

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