................ "Once the Fourth of July passes, the summer's pretty much over".
"That is NOT true", I would argue with her. "The summer's not even HALF over." It made me mad. I didn't like the thought of the free-as-a-bird days of summer being over. But you know what? .............. now that I've seen many summers come and go, I have to admit, she was right. It does seem like summer slips away on elusive wings once July is here. I still don't really like this truth, but I've grown to accept it and to savor every little bit of glorious summer. Especially in a culinary sense.
It's a short, sweet, wonderful season brimming with myriads of fabulous fruits and veggies, almost like a magnificent parade boasting one outrageously spectacular act after another until suddenly .............. it's done. Finished. Over. Everyday traffic is resumed and life returns to normal
That's how summer produce is to me. I want to savor every delicious bit of it before it's suddenly ............. done. Finished. Over. And life resumes it's normalcy.
These Tomato, Avocado & Fresh Mozzarella Tartines explode with summery flavor. Do try them before the warm days dissipate into Autumn. You truly won't be disappointed and if you're like us, this may just become your favorite summer meal. ................ it's okay though ................ they'll probably be the simplest meal you've made in a long time!
Tomato, Avocado & Fresh Mozzarella Tartines
4-8 slices good quality artisan bread, (use 8 if the loaf is smaller in size, each serving being two slices)
extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, slice thin
2 tablespoons pesto
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 medium heirloom tomatoes, or about 1 cup of cherry size (or a bit larger)*
½ large avocado, cut into bite size slices
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
sesame seeds, for garnish
fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced if leaves are large for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Thinly slice tomatoes (if using cherry or grape size tomatoes, just slice lengthwise into 3 small slices. Place tomatoes on several thicknesses of paper towels to drain excess liquid. Thinly slice onions and separate into rings. Reserve the large, outer rings for another use.
2. Place bread slices on a sheet pan. Drizzle each slice with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. (If you're using the smaller slices of bread, divide one teaspoon between two slices.) Using a pastry brush, brush bread slices to evenly distribute oil.
3. Place pan with bread in oven for 10 minutes to crisp bread. Evenly divide cheese among bread slices. Drizzle half of the pesto oil over the cheese. Return pan to oven for 6-8 minutes or until cheese is melted.
4. Cover most of cheese with tomatoes and avocados. Leave a few small open spaces for the cheese to ooze. Scatter onion rings atop tomato layer. Drizzle with a bit more pesto, to taste. Finish with a light sprinkle of sesame seeds and fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately.
* ~ I love to use mini heirloom tomatoes in several different hues for these tartines, available at some grocers but more often at farm stands and farmer's markets. Larger vine-ripened tomatoes will also work, just be sure to slice then nice and thin.