A few weeks ago, some of my teacher-friends and I got together for homemade pizza, cooked in an outside pizza oven. (The pizzas were incredible, and the company, of course, was top-notch. We had a lovely evening!) As is our tradition, we all brought something. Alicia made sangria, and I was in charge of appetizers. Here’s what I brought:
Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus: (I pretty much followed what the recipe said. A little time consuming, but really easy. I was able to get some locally-made prosciutto, as well, which was excellent.)
Caprese Tartlets, modified from this recipe: (These were really tasty–crunchy shell, creamy cheese with a little bite of garlic, juicy farmers’ market heirloom tomatoes in rich colors, and homegrown basil. However, I think it’s worth noting that these don’t store well. By the end of the night, they were starting to get a little soggy, and the couple I had saved in my fridge weren’t edible the next day. These aren’t too hard or time-consuming, but they are definitely not “bake-ahead” appetizers.)
15 phyllo dough pastry cups or miniature pie crusts
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1-2 cloves garlic, grated
1 teaspoon dried basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces fresh mozzarella (approximately 2-inch ball), thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, diced
8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
Set pastry cups on a foil-lined baking sheet. Preheat the oven to the temperature required by the pastry cups. (In my case, the manufacturer recommended baking them for 5-8 minutes at 400 degrees.)
In a small bowl, using a fork to combine, mix together the cream cheese, garlic, dried basil, salt, and pepper until smooth and creamy. Drop about 1/2 teaspoon of the cream cheese into the bottom of each pastry cup. (If it stays in a ball shape, that’s fine. It’ll flatten out along the bottom of the crust when it gets hot. Bake the tartlets until golden and crusty, as required by the pastry cups.
Meanwhile, dice the tomatoes. Put in a bowl, leaving some of the seeds behind. Drizzle balsamic vinegar in and gently mix until all tomatoes are coated. Allow to sit for a few minutes.
Once the tartlet shells are golden, remove them from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Place a slice of mozzarella on top of the cream cheese. Then add a scoop of the tomato mixture–don’t get too much of the tomato-balsamic liquid or the crust will get soggy. Garnish with basil chiffonade.