The building blocks of a classic Caprese salad are re-imagined in these summery toasts. First, cherry tomatoes are blistered in a skillet until bursting with juice. Then creamier burrata takes the place of the more standard mozzarella. And in place of basil leaves, a quick and easy chive oil adds an herbal accent. The result makes for a great snack or light meal.
When local tomato season begins, we could happily eat nothing else. I can’t recall a summer when we didn’t turn over our lunch almost entirely to slices of crusty peasant bread, thick slices of heirloom tomato, perfectly-ripe and bursting with flavor, a little torn mozzarella, a drizzle of good olive oil, perhaps a few snipped chives or basil leaves, and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Like a scent that brings you back to childhood, a good open-faced tomato and mozz evokes a carefree summer’s day. Of course, the key is that the tomatoes have to be at their peak, and most year-round varieties, grown for their ability to be shipped cross-country, just don’t have that essential tomato-ness.
Without losing the essentials of what makes that pairing work so well, we can use the same kind of flavors to add a little sophistication to a light lunch, dinner or party snack. Instead of slicing fresh tomatoes, we toss the cherry variety in a very hot cast iron pan and char them just until they burst with juicy tomato flavor. Turn off the heat and add a little sliced garlic which cooks just enough to take the edge off; instead of mozzarella, we turn to its creamier, more indulgent cousin, burrata; and instead of chopped chives, we make our own chive oil, which gets drizzled over the whole shebang.
Note: This recipe is part of our series with Serious Eats.