The love of food has its beginning in our eyes. It is first how we see it that matters, and what activates our salivary glands.
The more color you put in a dish, the better. A salad should not just be green, and even my husband has changed his opinion of it from complete distaste to unrestrained appreciation since I have complemented lettuces with sliced radishes, endives, red peppers, artichoke hearts, black beans, cheese shavings etc…
With summer here and appetizers on the deck becoming the norm again, I have exhumed from my files a multicolored recipe which is always a great success with family and friends:
Dried Tomatoes with Yellow Peppers, Basil and Mozzarella
- 18 (or two pounds) Roma Tomatoes
- 2 Yellow Sweet Peppers
- 8 oz 1 Package of Soft Mozzarella
- 12 Fresh Basil Leaves
- Balsamic Glaze
- Olive Oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Wash the tomatoes (get rid of any stem first), dry them, cut them in half and scrape out with your index finger the juice and seeds which are inside.
- Place the halves face down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with olive oil.
- Bake at 250 for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the skin is wrinkled.
- When ready, remove from the oven, let cool 10 minutes on top of the counter and pluck the skin off the tomatoes. It will come out easily: Lift one side with a sharp knife and pull up.
- Set up the oven at 375. Brush the two yellow peppers with olive oil. Set on a tray lined with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes or until wrinkled and charred black in several places.
- Take the peppers out of the oven, wrap in a towel for 1/2 hour then peel the skin, open the peppers, scrape the seeds out and cut in four or five sections. Throw out any juice left after roasting.
- Wash the basil leaves, dry them with paper towels and cut them in half along the central vein, taking the vein out if too thick.
- On a very flat and long server, alternate rows of basil leaves, tomatoes, mozzarella and yellow peppers. With a rubber spatula, scrape the tomato juice left on the baking tray and pour it over the assembled dish: It will blend with the olive oil and the glaze and make a delightful sauce which your family/friends will be all too happy to soak with their slices of crispy baguette when everything has been eaten and what is left is the fragrant dark thick liquid at the bottom of the server.
- Dribble olive oil all over, and crisscross a pattern of balsamic glaze on top. Sprinkle salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
- Accompany this appetizer with slices of crispy baguettes (bake the baguette for 1/2 hour to 35 minutes, or until crisp on the outside and still soft inside, in a 350 oven, let it cool, then slice).