For the Bruschetta:
- 1 1/2 pounds Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 5 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 baguette, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 2 cloves garlic
For the Basil Oil (garnish):
- 3 cups tightly packed basil leaves
- 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
- Special Equipment: strainer, small cruet or jar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bruschetta Preparation: Place diced tomatoes on a VIVA® towel and salt. Let sit for 20 minutes. Remove to a bowl and mix together with mozzarella and vinegar. Season with salt to taste. Let stand at room temperature while toasting the bread.
Place bread slices on a sheet tray in a single layer and bake until edges are golden, turning bread halfway through. Rub one side of toasted bread with raw garlic.
Basil Oil Preparation: Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. Drop the basil leaves into the boiling water and submerge them for 5 seconds. Remove them to the ice bath using a spider or slotted spoon. Work quickly. You don't want the basil leaves in the boiling water for too long. Blanching the leaves and then shocking them in ice water will preserve the bright green color. Remove the basil from the water and squeeze dry using VIVA® towels. You want the basil as dry as possible.
Remove basil to a blender with the oil. Puree until the mixture is well combined. Place a strainer inside a bowl. Dampen a VIVA® towel with water and line the towel inside the strainer. Pour the basil oil into the strainer. It takes awhile for the oil to strain through. You may need to squeeze it gently to help along the oil.
Pour strained basil oil into the neck of a small cruet or a small sterilized jar. Cover the jar or cruet tightly and refrigerate. Use within four days.