I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t like the Caprice salad whether it’s served on a plate or on a stick, or on a buffet where you DIY. This is one you DIY – as a sandwich and, if you want to serve it as an appetizer to an Italian dinner, you can. I’ll even give you a couple of alternatives both for an appetizer and for the kids who might turn their noses up at ‘vegetables again’!
For the kids, open it up, pop under the broiler, and tell them it’s a pizza!
As an appetizer, instead of bread, use a large, round whole grain or multi-grain cracker as the base and don’t bother cooking it at all!
OK – for the bread base … I like to use something thin like flat pita rounds (after they’ve been separated) or the you-know-who’s Sandwich Thins but you can use ciabatta rolls, whole grain or multi-grain bread, sourdough, even English muffins. I like to spread a little pesto on both sides just to moisten the bread a bit but not enough to be gooey, and once filled, either griddle, toast, bake, put in the panini baker or just eat! By the time I get it made, I’m usually ready to forget to heat it up and just take big bite!
Get the freshest mozzarella balls you can and slice them yourself (save scraps for pizza or anything else – including just nibbling!), fresh and bright green basil and the best tomatoes heirlooms if you can find them, you can find. If they smell wonderful they will taste wonderful! Trust me! If you can’t find heirlooms, get the tomatoes on the vine and – an important tip! Keep them ON the vine. They will stay fresh much longer and of course you know to never refrigerate tomatoes unless you want them to taste like potatoes! That includes the cherry varieties — just leave them where you and everyone else can just grab a few for a quick snack!
- 8 thin bread bases (pita, ciabatta bread slices, sourdough, etc.), divided
- 8 tsp. pesto, divided
- 1 large heirloom tomato, cored and sliced in 4 slices
- 4 large or 6-8 medium sized, fresh basil leaves
- 1 large ball fresh mozzarella, sliced into 4 slices (same thickness as tomatoes)
- Drizzle of good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Drizzle of good quality Balsamic vinegar
Spread each bread base thinly with 1 tsp. pesto. Cover each with a slice of tomato, 1 large or 2 small leaves of basil, 1 slice of mozzarella, and a light drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Cover with 2nd slice of bread.
Serve as is – or heat in panini baker per manufacturer’s directions. Or, preheat oven to 325. Place sandwiches on buttered foil or butter or olive oil sprayed baking sheet. Set sandwiches on baking sheet. Bake until heated through and cheese melts, about 3 to 4 minutes.
For mini-sandwiches, if serving cold, cut each sandwich in 4ths; if serving hot, cut after removing from oven (be careful as the cheese and tomato will be very hot!).