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Caprese Crostini with Pesto

caprese crostini with pesto

Last September we spent a week in Venice, Italy. Autumn in Italy, it should be cool right? Wrong.

The few warm weather clothes we packed made repeat performances that week and our ‘light sweaters’ never escaped the suitcase.

On trips, we quickly tire of eating out. And, believe me, the produce and cheese of Italy offer a perfect excuse for eating at home (or home away from home).


So in our little apartment on a canal, we enjoyed a couple of meals that we prepared. Both times, the meal was the same. Caprese salad (Insalata Caprese) – a classic Italian salad of tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, and good olive oil – alongside prosciutto with melon, and a hunk of good bread. Heaven.

Keith in Venice

It was reminiscing about Venice that inspired these crostini - pleasantly lost in narrow passages, riding the vaporetti like sardines in a steamer, waking to the bells of a dozen churches.

Grill slices of baguette drizzled with good olive oil and your cooking is done. Top them with fresh pesto, slices of fresh mozarella and tomato, then top with a fresh basil leaf. Serve as an appetizer or snack or with a generous plate of sliced melon (and prosciutto if you like) for the perfect summer supper.

Caprese Crostini with Pesto
You’ll have leftover pesto. Toss it with freshly cooked pasta for a second, simple meal or add a dollop to your favorite vinaigrette. The generous amount of lemon juice makes this pesto tangy and preserves it’s brilliant green color.
For the pesto:
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 3 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • ⅓ cup toasted walnuts
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded or cut in small chunks
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
For the Crostini:
  • 24½-inch baguette slices
  • extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • 8 ounces fresh mozarella, cut into 24½-inch slices
  • 3 medium tomatoes, each sliced into 4 rounds, then 8 half-rounds (total 24 half slices)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 small fresh basil leaves
  1. To make the pesto: add garlic, fresh basil, walnuts and Parmesan cheese to the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely minced. With the processor running, drizzle in lemon juice and olive oil until the pesto is smooth. Add salt to taste and pulse to combine. Set aside.
  2. Prepare barbecue (medium-high-heat). Brush both sides of baguette slices generously with olive oi. Grill until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side. (Alternatively bake on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes per side.)
  3. To assemble crostini: spread a generous amount of pesto on crostini and top each with a slice of fresh mozzarella and a slice of tomato. Drizzle with olive oil and season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Top each crostini with a fresh basil leaf and serve.
Makes 24 crostini


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15 Responses to Caprese Crostini with Pesto

  1. Eileen August 10, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    Hooray for pesto on bread! This is exactly the best kind of food to eat when it’s blisteringly hot outside. :)

    • Marissa August 15, 2012 at 9:09 am #

      I agree!

  2. Jenny August 11, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

    What a lovely idea! I love Caprese salad, it would be delicious in this form.

    • Marissa August 15, 2012 at 9:10 am #

      I promise, it is…

  3. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes August 12, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    I never tire of italian flavors. That picture is fantastic! And anything that reminds me of italy is very welcome. I particularly like that your pesto is thick and very bright green.

    • Marissa August 15, 2012 at 9:10 am #

      Thank you Paula. :) I admit, I could eat pesto just with a spoon!

  4. Reem | Simply Reem August 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    That looks gorgeous…
    Pesto on bread..hmmmm Now you have given me an idea for what to eat like right now…

    • Marissa August 15, 2012 at 9:11 am #

      Thanks Reem!

  5. Kathy August 15, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    Such a lovely idea…pesto, bread, cheese what could be better! This is my kind of lunch! Such beautiful photos!

    • Marissa August 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

      Thanks Kathy. Me too – especially in the middle of summer!

  6. Lorraine @ Not Quite NIgella August 17, 2012 at 1:01 am #

    I always think that Italian food is best when it is simple, letting the flavours come out! Just like this wonderful crostini! :D

    • Marissa August 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

      So true!

  7. Angie@Angie's Recipes August 28, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    I must give this a try! Can’t take my eyes off the clicks!


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