Roasted Tomato Mozzarella Bites

Each time I make these Roasted Tomato Mozzarella Bites, they disappear so fast I can never take any photos.  Believe me, when you make them yourself, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

The beauty about these nibbles is the roasted tomatoes.  I know; slicing up fresh tomatoes, plopping on some fresh mozzarella and basil, dribbled with some olive oil and sea salt and it’s done, right? OK. Yes, I hear you.  But we don’t always get the greatest of tomatoes ALL the time.

There’s nothing to beat homegrown but when we can’t grow our own tomatoes and we’re left with slightly tasteless ones when they’re out of season or a bit tired at the supermarket, then this is the answer. Roasting the tomatoes for a few minutes first makes all the difference.

Roasted Tomato Mozzarella Bites

Roasted Tomato Mozzarella Bites

No Need for Fancy Ingredients

The concentrated tomato flavour by quick-roasting in the oven means that there’s no need for any fancy extra ingredients.  Keep it simple. I use the longer tomatoes, as they give off less juice and so ideal for roasting quickly (e.g. Torino, Roma).

Torino Tomatoes at the French market

You’ll just need good quality fresh mozzarella (bufala even better): either balls or chopped into little bite-sized pieces.  Top each tomato slice along with a bit of fresh basil, salt and olive oil – if you really need to. To top it, here’s my Italian-blooded friend, Christina Conte, talking about the reasons to hold back on balsamic etc. on Caprese salads!

The flavour ends up being so full of blissful tomato, that you’ll just want to eat it as is. Don’t believe me? Just try it!

As I watched our cherry tomato plant just roast in the soaring temperatures this week to over 40°C, I could have probably done this recipe just by picking them directly off the plant and forgetting about the oven! Speaking of which, have you tried these salted toffee cherry tomatoes?

Luckily for us, our mini dwarf basil plant hasn’t grilled completely in this Parisian heatwave. To top it, we’ve got some pretty little basil flowers that are totally edible too. If you’re one of these people who puts the flowers to the side of the plate or picks them off, please don’t. The herb flowers pack a punch with a concentrated basil that explodes on the palette!

Roasted Tomato Mozzarella Bites

Roasted Tomato Mozzarella Bites

Great party food, excellent served with drinks at any time of year.  By roasting the tomatoes, the flavour is concentrated and so even the blandest of tomatoes can be livened up for a party – although the better the tomatoes, the more your toes will curl with the pure and simple taste. Cheers!

5 from 7 votes
Roasted tomato mozzarella bites
Roasted Tomato Mozzarella Bites
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Cooling Time
15 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

Easy Caprese tomato mozzarella & basil bites are concentrated in flavour with roasted tomatoes, making them great party food and full of flavour at any time of year.

Course: Appetizer, Drinks, Side Dish, Snack, Starter
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword: appetizers, party food, tomato mozzarella
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 94 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 5 Tomatoes (organic) (I use Roma, long tomatoes)
  • 1 tsp fleur de sel sea salt
  • pepper, to taste (optional)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 300 g (11oz) fresh mozzarella balls (if small, one per tomato slice, otherwise cut in half)
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil leaves to top each tomato
Instructions
  1. Slice the tomatoes not too thinly (about 1.5cm) so that they'll roast and not burn (they should be still wet when done). Place slices on baking parchment on a baking tray. Roast in the oven at 170°C/150°C fan/340°F/Gas 3 for about 20 minutes until roasted but not brown.

  2. Leave to cool on the baking tray. Meanwhile, place the mozzarella balls in a bowl with the olive oil, sea salt and pepper, if using.

  3. Place the basil then mozzarella balls on each tomato slice and using a tooth pick, lift off each tomato slice, skewering the pick into the tomato and mozzarella and transfer to a serving plate. If there are leftover tomato slices, place one on top to make a sandwich.

Recipe Notes

Excellent with a glass of chilled white, rosé or red wine or try a French Kir Royal for something different.

 

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

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A New Year Kir Royal from Normandy

Happy, bubbly New Year to you! It’s good to be back.

Do you have resolutions for 2014? I don’t, but this morning I realised the need to resolve the online photo chaos before I move up to the new attic office when it’s ready.  Making a start – trying to cut out the distracting but fun cacophony of sawing, whistling and drilling interspersed with some singing hilarity of French-Romanian renditions of Amazing Grace upstairs- I discovered a number of photos I’d completely forgotten about, taken on a long weekend in Normandy last August.

As the sawdust flies around my nest, this is a welcome impression of fresh air on a desktop – although I can imagine with the ferocious winds this week that it’s not quite the same serene scene along the French coasts!

This shot reminds me of a typical Normandy beach scene by Eugène Boudin, where the sky dominates the canvas. Eugène Boudin was one of the first French landscape painters to paint outdoors – Claude Monet was his biggest fan. I picked that up at the Boudin exhibition in Paris last May at the Jacquemart André museum, before devouring a magnificent fraisier in the museum café, which inspired my strawberry and pistachio tart. But I digress.

Taken from his hidden grotto, this was Victor Hugo’s last view of the sea in 1884, according to a tourist information sign nearby.

This grotto was made towards the end of his life, as he often visited his friend, Paul Meurice, to work and contemplate the sea at his house, just metres away in Veules-les-Roses. I bet they supped plenty of watercress soup together, as this is also where the watercress beds are plentiful at the source of France’s smallest river.

Normandy beach huts

Mid-morning, the row of beach huts in Veules-les-Roses nestled into the cliff’s terrace like a drowsy audience before the sea show. By midday, the ambience flipped to bubbling.

Their weekend occupants had opened the shutters, brushed down the canvas chairs inside and laid out platters of local oysters on picnic tables while sipping on a Kir Normand apéritif: a cocktail drink of local Normandy brut cider mixed with crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur). In some restaurants they also add a touch of Calvados liqueur. While I tried the Kir Normand, I prefer Normandy cidre on its own, to let the flavour of the apples shine through. However, what about just the cider and Calvados?

blackberries Normandy coast

The hedgerows of wild blackberries (or brambles) that line the coastal path in Veules-les-Roses best echo my kir sentiments; my favourite is a kir à la mûre (made with blackberry liqueur), which has something warming and festive about it at this time of year, whatever extreme, crazy weather we’re having.

(Psst: most people call them blackberries, I know, but we call them brambles in Scotland – that way there’s no confusion with the other Blackberry, or hubby’s ‘ex-mistress’ – I always had this strong desire to accidentally drop his Blackberry in the swimming pool as he answered emails on holiday!)

When I first arrived in Paris – as lost as French francs were to finding my purse – I was amazed at the rows of enticing-looking cheap bottles of wine at our local Leader Price supermarket. The wines, however, were just as dry and acidic as the smile-less faces at the cash desk.

As I’d discovered the fabulous classic French kir apéritif made with Bourgogne Aligoté and crème de cassis, it was the happiest solution to disguise the rather sour-tasting white wines. Then, as I started to work, I was introduced to the cassis’ fruity cousins in Paris bars and restaurants: I could mix Aligoté or Chablis wine with framboise (raspberry), pêche (peach) or mûre (bramble).

The best ratio of crème de mûre (or cassis, pêche or framboise) to white wine in a kir is about 1:5, as it’s just enough to give a hint of fruit without overpowering the flavour of the wine.  Let’s face it: you don’t want something overly sweet for an apéritif before a meal. In Burgundy, I was surprised to be served at least double the dose by our friends from Dijon – so it’s just a matter of personal taste.

For festive occasions, the kir’s decadent big, bubbly sister is the Kir Royal made with Champagne, but traditionally and best served with a Crémant de Bourgogne, dry sparkling wine from Burgundy. When I followed Georges Lepré’s wine conferences in Le Vésinet last year, he told us that while he was chef sommelier at the Ritz until 1993, he was asked by Joan Collins for a Kir Royal with Roederer Champagne. Say no more. Don’t ruin fabulously expensive Champagne; enjoy it with a good dry brut without too much character – unless your character is stronger than the wine.


Laughter is sunshine that drives winter from the human face”

– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables.

CHEERS!

to
laughter, health and sunshine in 2014!