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Cristina Ferrare's Tomato-Mozzarella Tower
Cristina Ferrare's Tomato-Mozzarella Tower

Tips:

  1. Choose vine ripened sweet tomatoes.
  2. It's important to have all your ingredients ready before you start to assemble your tower.
  3. Don't salt tomatoes.
  4. Use serrated knife.
  5. Don't use too much dressing. It's very flavorful.
  6. You can add balsamic.

Shallot Bacon Dressing:

  • 6 SLICES OF BACON- Fry the bacon in a skillet until crispy. Remove the bacon from the skillet and place on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
  • 2 TABLESPOONS FINELY CHOPPED SHALLOTS- Lower the heat under the skillet to medium, add the shallots to the bacon drippings, and sauté for 30 seconds, until the shallots start to turn a bit crispy.
  • 2 TABLESPOONS APPLE CIDER VINEGAR- Add the apple cider vinegar, and with a wooden spoon, stir well, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour into a small bowl and set aside to use as dressing.
  • 6 SLICES REALLY SOURDOUGH BREAD- Return the skillet to the stove over medium heat. Add as many bread rounds as will fit in the pan. Lightly toast both sides of the bread. Be careful that the flame isn't too high. You don't want to burn the bread, so stay with it until all 6 pieces have been toasted lightly. Set aside.
  • Crumble the cooked bacon into small bits and set aside in a small bowl.

Tomato-Mozzarella Tower:

  • 6 HEIRLOOM TOMATOES- Make sure the tomatoes are uniform in size. (If you can't find heirlooms, use regular organic tomatoes.) Cut the heirloom tomatoes into slices slightly less than ½-inch thick. You should have 18 slices that are consistent in size. You will have some tomato left over.
  • 2 (6-OUNCE) PACKAGES BUFFALO MOZZARELLA- Cut the buffalo mozzarella into slices slightly less than ½-inch thick. You should have 12 slices that are consistent in size.
  • 10 FRESH BASIL LEAVES- Stack all 10 of the basil leaves on top of one another, roll them into a cigarette shape, and slice thin.

Directions:

  1. Make an assembly line of toasted bread, heirloom tomatoes, sliced mozzarella, shallot dressing, bacon bits, kosher salt, and basil. Place one toasted bread round on a salad plate, add a slice of heirloom tomato, and sprinkle with a small pinch each of salt and pepper.
  2. Drizzle on several tiny drops of shallot dressing and a pinch of crumbled bacon, letting a little fall onto the plate as well.
  3. Top with a slice of mozzarella cheese and then another slice of tomato.
  4. Repeat this process until you have three slices of heirloom tomatoes and two slices of mozzarella cheese in your tower.
  5. On the last tomato slice, the one that tops the tower, sprinkle more bacon bits, then lightly drizzle a tiny bit more of the dressing (a little goes a long way), including some on the plate for a professional look. Garnish with a few strips of basil.
  6. Add 5 to 6 baby Roma tomato halves to the plate and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt.
  7. Repeat the assembly process for the other 5 towers.

Get additional recipes from Cristina at www.cristinaferrarecooks.com.

Get more great crafts and recipes from "Home & Family" on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/hallmarkchannel.