During my recent holiday in north of Italy, I have discovered a wonderful local tradition of “aperitivo” – an alcoholic drink with tasty little snacks consumed in tiny bars sometime starting 5pm until it is time for dinner. The narrow streets of Verona and Venice were overflowing with bars and cafes offering mouthwatering crositinis topped local cheese, marinated mushrooms, anchovies, zucchinis, peppers, and many other flavorsome toppings. Everything came in tiny portions (or what I like to call ‘fun size’), allowing you to sample several things without getting too full for dinner later. I really wish the city I live in would adopt this tradition but I think people here are quite happy with beer-and-pretzel combination as a pre-dinner snack.
On our way home, we could not resist stopping by a grocery store and filling our basket with cherry tomatoes, smoked mozzarella balls, lean baguettes with olives and nuts, balsamic vinegar, nettle pasta, local wine, and many more delicacies. The next day, without even planning to do so, we had a little aperitivo hour at home, using just few ingredients to create quick and delicious tomato mozzarella sliders. This combination makes great snack to grab while waiting for dinner or even an appetizer you could offer your guests. Just be sure to use small pieces of bread (if you can’t find narrow baguettes, cut normal bread slices in quarters) and use small tomatoes so that sliders could be eaten in one, or at most two, bites. Otherwise, you’ll end up with lots of breadcrumbs and tomato juice to clean up later.
Tasty Tomato Mozzarella Sliders
– baguette (preferably filled with olives and nuts)
– handful of cherry tomatoes
– smoked mozzarella, or another flavorful cheese good for melting (tallegio would be good substitute)
– tapenade (black olive paste)
– one clove of garlic
– 1 tbs olive oil
– parsley or basil, to decorate
– salt and pepper, to taste
Toast bread slices for few minutes on each side, lightly rub with garlic clove, and drizzle with olive oil. Top with slices of cheese and return to the oven until cheese begins to melt. Remove and add tomato slices, sprinkle with pepper and salt, top with a bit of tapenade and parsley/basil leaves. Done.