GTA REAL ESTATE – If you’re looking to host home shoppers in August, making sure they stay cool and comfortable is a huge priority. That means keeping your air conditioning set to a comfortable temperature, and offering a selection of drinks – including bottled water – to help your visitors stay cool and hydrated.
This month’s “Open Kitchen” recipe takes its flavours from a traditional Italian summer classic: the Caprese salad. The subtle, creamy flavour of soft cheese is the ultimate complement to the sweetness of cocktail tomatoes and the fresh kick of basil.
- 397 g cocktail tomatoes (e.g. President’s Choice).
- One thin loaf ciabatta bread.
- One 200g tub bocconcini cheese (e.g. Tre Stelle).
- Roughly five leaves fresh basil.
- Vegetable/olive oil.
Preparing the Base
As always, you’ll want to wash your hands and put on some plastic gloves before getting started. After that’s done, grab your baguette-sized loaf of ciabatta and slice it into thin (roughly a centimetre thick at most) slices. Each one is going to be used as the base for a single bite-sized appetizer, so cut as many slices as you think you’d like to serve.
This is where you’ll want to start preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, we’re going to add a little bit of flavour to the ciabatta base by brushing each one with a light coat of olive or vegetable oil. After that’s done, spread them out on a baking sheet and put them in – the middle rack will do just fine. You’re going to cook these for about eight minutes – just enough so that they develop a crunchy texture.
Preparing the Flair
Next, you’ll want to take a few of your cocktail tomatoes and slice them. Don’t be shy, here – centimetre-thick slices will add a juicy visual punch to the final product. Keep slicing until you’ve got about as many tomato slices as bread slices. Next you’ll want to do the same for the cheese. This is a premium ingredient, though, so this layer should probably be thinner – about half to two-thirds of the tomato slices’ thickness is a good benchmark.
Next, you’re going to take the basil and chop it very finely – you ideally want it to look almost as fine as the dried basil you would pour from a shaker.
After all that’s done, toss the chopped/sliced tomatoes, cheese and basil together into a mixing bowl with a couple tablespoons of oil, and toss with a couple of wooden spoons.
The Fun Part: Assembly
This part’s really easy – your tomatoes and cheese should be covered pretty evenly with fragments of basil, so you can just layer them on like you’re making mini sandwiches. To get a really nice presentation going, you can place the cheese slices at an angle to the tomato slices – feel free to get creative with it (like our test kitchen did in the photo above).
After you’re done assembling all your stacks, cover them up and keep them refrigerated. They should be able to keep overnight without the crispy ciabatta becoming soggy, but these will definitely taste best if they’re prepared the morning of an open house.
When it’s time for the open house, simply transfer to a decorative platter and ecco – you’ve got a winner on your hands. These will go great with carbonated mineral water on a hot summer afternoon.