I have to admit I make this tomato tower often during the summer when the tomatoes are at the peak of their flavor! This dish is a wonderful combination of taste and texture. Vine ripened sweet tomatoes, creamy buffalo mozzarella, crunchy bacon bits, toasty grilled bread, fresh basil and really good extra virgin olive oil. This is one of my “picks” for favorite recipe!
6 slices really good white read, not the soft stuff
1 baby Roma tomatoes, red and yellow, for garnish
6 slices bacon
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
6 heirloom tomatoes; make sure the tomatoes are uniform in size (it you can’t find heirlooms, use regular organic tomatoes)
10 fresh basil leaves
2 (6-ounce) packages buffalo mozzarella
It’s important to have all your ingredients ready before you start to assemble your tower.
Cut 6 bread rounds using a 4-1/2 inch cookie cutter. Set aside.
Slice the baby Roma tomatoes in half lengthwise. Set aside.
Fry the bacon in a skillet until crispy. Remove the bacon from the skillet and place on a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Lower the heat under the skillet to medium, add the shallots to the bacon drippings, and saute for 30 seconds, until the shallots start to turn a bit crispy.
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. 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 wan 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. Cut the heirloom tomatoes into slices slightly less than 1/2 inch thick. You should have 18 slices that are consistent in size. You will have some tomato left over.
Cut the buffalo mozzarella into slices slightly less than 1/2 inch thick. You should have 12 slices that are consistent in size.
Stack all 10 of the basil leaves on top of one another, roll them into a cigarette shape, and slice thin.
Make an assembly line.: toasted bread, heirloom, tomatoes, sliced mozzarella, shallot dressing, bacon bits, kosher salt, 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
Drizzle on several tiny drops of shallot dressing and a pinch of crumbled bacon, letting a little fall onto the plate as well.
Top with a slice of mozzarella cheese and then another slice of tomato.
Repeat this process until you have three slices of heirloom tomato and two slices of mozzarella cheese in your tower.
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.
Add 5 to 6 baby Roma tomato halves to the plate and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt,
Repeat the assembly process for the other 5 towers
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