The Pantry: Caprese Croissant

The other day while shopping, I noticed that our local grocery store had a huge display of red, yellow, and orange vine ripened tomatoes on sale.  I’d never tried a yellow or orange tomato, so in the name of science– okay, not really– I knew I needed to buy some immediately.  And, honestly, what better way to experiment with multi-colored tomatoes than by building the perfect caprese croissant.

Caprese Croissant

Ingredients:

1-2 small tomatoes

4-5 slices fresh mozzarella

3-5 leaves fresh basil

2 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 croissant

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Note– this is the random temperature I picked.  Next time I make this, I’ll probably dial things back to about 375.  Use your own judgement here.  I wanted the cheese to melt quickly, but I wanted the bottom to crisp up, too, which is why I didn’t broil it.

2.  Carefully wash tomatoes, and then slice them into thin slices.  I used about half of each tomato for one sandwich– mostly because I really wanted to try that yellow tomato.  To be honest, it really didn’t differ in flavor a whole lot compared to the red one.  It did have a firmer texture, but they may not have had anything to do with the color difference.

3.  Mix together the olive oil with the Italian seasoning and about half of the salt and pepper.  Drizzle most of the spiced oil over the tomatoes.  If I’d thought about it, I’d have put the mozzarella on the plate with the tomatoes before I drizzled the oil; however, I didn’t think about it…so I didn’t.

Allow the tomatoes to sit for a moment, soaking up all of that delicious olive oil.

4.  Slice the croissant lengthwise.  And yes, my knife was hanging in the croissant while I took the picture.  How else do you get an “action shot” when you’re all alone in the kitchen, I ask you?

No directions here–just showing you that the croissant has been sliced.

Pretty, isn’t it?

5.  I didn’t take pictures of this part, but I drizzled the remaining spiced oil over the bottom croissant, and I dredged the mozzarella and several basil leaves in the oil that was on the plate with the tomatoes.  Then I placed the bottom oiled croissant half (cut side up) on a aluminum foil lined pan, and I randomly layered everything (tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and thyme–I’d have used fresh oregano, too, but all of my oregano died on me *sniff*) on top.

When I added the tomatoes, I removed a lot of the gooey seed portions in order to keep the bread from getting too soggy.  When I make this again, I will most likely completely seed the tomatoes because the bottom half of the sandwich was still a little too moist.

Wouldn’t this be divine with some very thinly–I’m talking paper thin– sliced red onions?  And it’d add such a beutiful purple color to the palette.

Place the other half of the croissant cut side up on the lined pan.  No butter or oil necessary– the croissants already contain plenty of butter.  Sorry about the picture quality.  I think the sun went behine a cloud or something.  The kitchen just got really dark at that point.

6.  Bake the sandwich for 5-8 minutes, until cheese is melted and bread is golden brown.  As you can see, I went too long– almost 10 minutes.  I actually forgot I had it in the oven.  Ooops.

Scoop it onto a plate, and top the bottom half with the top croissant.  Slice it, and serve it.

Admire your handiwork.  The basil gets a little black in the oven.  it’s not pretty, but it still tastes pretty good.

Like I said, the bottom was a bit too soggy. I really think removing all of the goop (for lack of a better word–hey, I’m not a botanist) and seeds will make a big difference in the texture.

You can also see that the basil that wasn’t directly exposed to the heat did not turn black in the oven.  Same with the thyme.

The cheese was also the perfect gooey, creamy, melty texture.  If you can do it, go for fresh, soft mozzarella.  The hard rubbery kind just doesn’t work quite as well.

Yield: 1 sandwich

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