Everyone does a version of this recipe at some point. It’s the simplest most yummy appetizer in the world. I have another recipe for this which is just slightly more complicated. I’ll post that another time. This is the quickest way I can make this recipe. When it comes to mozzarella cheese for this recipe, spring for the good stuff. You won’t be sorry. The better mozzarella is, in my opinion, a lot creamier. Also, I prefer to use tomatoes-on-the-vine for this recipe (you know those, they’re in your supermarket), but you could use Roma tomatoes with equal ease. We had these one sweltering afternoon at the beginning of October, when temperatures were still getting up into the double digits. We made them again a couple of weeks ago. The first time we cut the cheese a little too thick, a problem we remedied the second time around, achieving a great ratio of cheese to fresh veggie. This is easy and it looks beautiful. And it’s now the weekend. So shouldn’t you make it?
Fresh Mozzarella-Basil Appetizer
1-2 tomatoes-on-the-vine or 3-4 Roma tomatoes
1 ball of mozzarella cheese
1 cup fresh basil leaves, washed and patted gently dry
olive oil, to taste
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (or to taste)
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1. If you’re using Roma tomatoes, simply cut them into 1/2-inch thick slices. If you’re using tomatoes on the vine, you may also have to cut the tomato slices in half.
2. Cut the mozzarella in slices 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick.
3. Make a basil sandwich using one slice of tomato, one large basil leaf and one slice of mozzarella. If you have a long plate (usually I think, used for sushi) like the one pictured, then stack each sandwich one after the other down the length of the plate. If you have a round platter, stack them in a circle. I like to make sure they are all touching each other because I have a theory that everything infuses better this way.
4. Being VERY CAREFUL not to use too much, quickly drizzle some olive oil over all the slices. Remember that you just want a touch of flavor. A little goes a LONG way.
5. Next drizzle the balsamic vinegar in the same way. You can be a bit more liberal with this, especially if you love balsamic vinegar as much as we do.
6. Finally, grind your black peppercorns in a grinder or by using a mortar and pestle and sprinkle them carefully over the stacks. Again, a little goes a long way here; you just want a taste of black pepper for a little zing.
7. Pop the plate into the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour. Eat with your hands. No utensils allowed!