Warning – this post is not gluten free!
The caprese combination is one of my favorite flavor sets in Italian food. Mozzarella, basil and tomato form the perfect blend of sweet, creamy, and a little bit of punch all in one bite. There is a texture element too, and this sandwich is all about textures. The crunchy from the toasted baguette, the chewy creamy melted mozzarella, the melt in your mouth pesto, and the juicy luscious tomato. All of these together create quite the enjoyable sensation in your mouth, and it takes a bit of self restraint to not scarf it down all in one bite! Sorry this one is only gluten free if you find some GF bread to use! I splurged and got my own baguette for myself, which I’ve been taunting my husband with all week haha. Ok so I am kinda mean sometimes, lol. He knows it’s in good fun. Right honey? haha. I have yet to find a GF baguette recipe. I’ve never even actually attempted my own baguettes. If you know of a good beginning baguette recipe, or even a GF baguette recipe, please let me know!
In reality this is not very different from a dressed up variation on bruschetta, but with all the toppings, the fact that I didn’t brush it with olive oil etc., it really is just an open faced sandwich. My bread isn’t toasted so much that it’s crouton-like, it’s still a little bit chewy in the middle. If I am going to eat bread, I like to really enjoy it with a thick hearty slice that I can sink my teeth into.
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
3 tbs. EVOO
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups basil leaves
Ten 3/4″ thick slices of French baguette
2 medium flavorful and ripe tomatoes, sliced
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese
1. First, make the pesto – set aside 10 basil leaves for garnish later. Add pine nuts, EVOO, garlic, parmesan cheese , and basil to a food processor, adding more or less depending on what you need for the consistency you are happy with, and pulse until it becomes a pesto.
2. Toast your baguette slices. For this I used my toaster oven (though a regular oven could also work) at 350 until they just started to brown slightly on the top – just a few minutes. I wanted them to dry a bit but not become too dry. Then take them out.
3. Assemble your sandwich – baguette, then spread some pesto, then tomato slice, then more pesto, then mozzarella slice. Bake again at 375F until the mozzarella cheese melts all over your sandwich, about 5 minutes if your oven is preheated.
4. Garnish with fresh basil leaf and serve.
Yeah total green cast on that 2nd pic….the baguette totally picked up on that green hue…nothing I could do worked to get rid of it without totally distorting the basil and pesto color…a warming filter worked on the top picture, but definitely did not work on the 2nd pic. bummer. I also took this at like 6 pm, so the light wasn’t ideal (well, it’s never ideal haha).