Whether you take the fancier route and name them crostini, or keep it real and call them toasts, these Italian crostini caprese appetizer bites with roasted tomatoes, prosciutto, and melted mozzarella cheese on sliced baguette are so easy to whip up, everyone will be calling for more.
This recipe is brought to you by Cache Valley Cheese
Today I’m taking two favorite recipes (caprese and grilled cheese) and combining them for a simple finger food twist for the old appetizer plate.
This bite-sized appetizer is one of those that you’re going to come back to making time and time again. And here’s why:
- You don’t have to be a star chef to make it. Actually, you barely need to know how to turn on the oven.
- The ingredient list is short and sweet.
- It looks a whole lot fancier than how simple it is to make.
- You can eat a toast with one hand while you sip your drink with the other.
- It doubles as a snack-able dinner or if you’re Smudge, as a perfect poo-poo platter lunch.
- You can keep all the ingredients on hand to whip out on a moment notice.
- Because everyone loves melty cheese on toast.
- And everyone loves melty cheese on toast even more when it’s topped with caprese and salty-hammy-prosciutto flavors.
How to Make Melty Mozzarella Caprese Crostini Toasts
When thinking of caprese, your memory-taster-maker often heads to summer salads. But this caprese appetizer doesn’t follow the ebb and flow of the seasonal calendar, because I have a secret to loving it any time of the year, even when the grocery store is plagued with less-than-flavorful winter-time tomatoes.
How to do it? Ya’ roast ‘em baby!
The roasted tomatoes and melted cheese are what makes the difference in these caprese crostini versus bruschetta—typically made with fresh chopped tomatoes, garlic and basil.
How to Roast Tomatoes
Just like my recipes for my simple roasted tomatoes , my Roasted Tomato Sauce (I freeze it in gallon bags and pull out as needed) and in this fave caprese salad, slow-roasting cherry tomatoes brings out their sweet juicy side by caramelizing their natural sugars.
Following this slow roasting method for the tomatoes does take a bit of time (set aside 3-4 hours of hands-off baking) but also develops a sweet, jammy flavor in every bite. If you don’t have time for the slow roast, try my 15 minute simple roasted tomatoes, instead.
I add a whole head of garlic cut in half to perfume and infuse into the tomatoes as they cook. If you want, squeeze the roasted garlic from their papery skins and slather on the sliced toasts before layering on the cheese. Totally optional but totally tasty.
The typical caprese often calls for fresh mozzarella, but when melting the cheese in recipes like these toasts, I’ve found regular mozzarella like my local Cache Valley Cheese works far better because this mozzarella melts like a dream. It’s lower in moisture than fresh or buffalo mozzarella so it creates a more melty cheese-pull and won’t make the bread soggy. Plus, Cache Valley Cheese is high in protein and calcium so it’s always a welcome addition to any bite.
A bit of prosciutto adds a savory, salty flavor to the toasts and brings out the flavor of the cheese even more. Drizzle the toasts with a store-bought balsamic glaze and a fresh basil leaf and this appetizer is ready to hand out to the masses.
How to Make Crostini Ahead of Time
This is a simple recipe to prep ahead of time to have on hand for when company comes around, and simply compose and heat when needed. Here’s how:
- Roast the tomatoes and garlic ahead of time, drizzle with olive oil and store in the fridge for up to 1 week of serving.
- Slice the bread and store for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
- Shred the mozzarella cheese ahead of time and refrigerate for up to two weeks.
Melted Mozzarella Caprese Crostini Toasts
- 1 French bread baguette
- 10 ounces of cherry tomatoes , (about 3 cups)
- 1 whole head of garlic , cut in half
- extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 8 ounces Cache Valley mozzarella cheese , sliced
- 4 ounces prosciutto slices
- balsamic glaze
- Slice the baguette into 24-30 ¼-inch slices and set aside.
- Preheat the oven or a toaster oven to 250 degrees F. Scatter the tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil along with the halved head of garlic and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and ¼ cup of the fresh basil leaves. Toss lightly to coat. Bake for 3-4 hours or until the tomatoes are soft and blistered. After roasting, squeeze the garlic from their papery skins, mashing slightly and gently toss with the tomatoes and set aside.
- On another baking sheet lined with foil, arrange the slices of baguette and top each with a slice of mozzarella cheese. Top each slice of cheese with a tomato and some of the garlic if desired and toast until the cheese is melted. Gently tear pieces of prosciutto and nestle in a basil leaf with a roasted tomato then place on each toast. Garnish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and a spritz of black pepper if desired.
What to Serve with Your Melted Mozzarella Caprese Toasts to Make It a Party
- Pomegranate Martini
- Italian Salad Platter
- Champagne Punch
- Garlic Butter Pepperoni Pizza Rolls
- 15 Holiday Appetizers With 5 Ingredients or Less
This post is in partnership with Cache Valley Cheese. As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.
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