I love the combination of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil (a taste from the Italian region of Campania) in these bite-size appetizers. The juicy explosion you get when you pop one into your mouth is the genuine taste of springtime.
This is a new spin on a classic Italian dish, and no one knows how to showcase the tomato like the Italians. In Italy, unlike most salads, it is usually served as an antipasto (starter), not a contorno (side dish).
Caprese Tomato Bites
1 pint cherry tomatoes, about 16
16 mozzarella pearls
16 fresh basil leaves, small
Extra virgin olive oil
Scoop out and discard pulp an stem of the cherry tomatoes.
Invert tomatoes onto paper towels to drain.
Turn tomato halves over; drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Wrap a leaf of basil around a pearl of cheese (like a taco) and insert into a tomato.
So, Terry’s daughter Dani, our sometimes Sous Chef and photographer extraordinaire at Burnin’ Love BBQ is getting married in a couple of weeks and the reception meal is going to be one for the gastronomic record-books!
We’ve been cooking up a storm the last few weeks, testing and re-testing (yeah, it’s a tough job) and we’re pretty much dialed in on the meal.
Here is one (of the four) elements of the dinner plate…
Photo by Terry Ramsey
Oak Grilled NY Strip Steak with Horseradish Crema on Baguette Toast Points
Oak Grilled NY Strip Steak
1 New York Strip Steak, 2 inch thick
Heat oak coals to approximately 450 degrees grill temp
Rub steak (both sides) with salt and pepper and allow to rest at room temp for 1 hour.
Place the steak directly over oak coals for 5 minutes. Flip the steak over for another 5 minutes of direct heat.
Remove the steak from direct heat and place it in indirect heat for 4 minutes.
Flip the steak over for another 4 minutes of indirect heat.
IMPORTANT: Allow steaks to rest off heat, covered loosely in foil for at least 5 minutes before serving or slicing.
Once rested, slice 1/4 inch thick on a bias, against the grain. Place 1-2 slices on toast points, top with a dollop of Horseradish Crema, and serve immediately.
1/2 C Crema (Mexican sour cream)
2 Tbs prepared horseradish (Beaver brand)
1/2 t black pepper
Combine all ingredients and chill.
Baguette Toast Points
These toast points are a versatile base for all kinds of hors d’oeuvres. You can make the toast points in advance (see make-ahead tip, below) but don’t assemble the hors d’oeuvres until about 30 minutes before serving, or else the bread will get soggy. Yields 16 toast points.
8 slices French baguette, cut on bias (1/2 inch thick)
1 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Adjust an oven rack to 6 inches from the broiler and turn the broiler on to high.
Set the bread on a baking sheet, brush one side with the melted butter, and season with salt and pepper. Toast the bread until it’s golden brown and crisp on top, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Flip and cook the other side until golden, about 1 minute. While the bread is still hot, slice diagonally. Let cool slightly.
Serves 4 as an appetizer or tapas, serves 2 as an entree.