I watched Giada's cooking show for the first time this weekend. It's hard not to hate that woman; gorgeous, skinny, ultra straight, white teeth and she seems to actually EAT. I much prefer Ina. But, at least in the episode that I saw, Giada's recipes did look really delicious.
The one dish that impressed me the most was this dish that incorporated layered ingredients of Salad Caprese topped with thick slices of bread, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and baked until the mozzarella melts and the tomatoes release their juices and the bread is golden and crisp and oh...
So I made (my version of) it and it WAS so, very tasty.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small red onion, sliced very thin
2 pounds (1 kilo) tomatoes, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
Handful of fresh basil leaves, or Gourmet Garden's Italian Herb (squeezable herbs in a tube)
1, 8 ounce (200grams) ball mozzarella (cow or buffalo's milk), pulled into pieces
4 thick slices par-baked bread (bake and serve, not yet baked) or more if needed
1) Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Place the tomato slices on paper towels to draw out some of the liquid. If using buffalo mozzarella, press some of the liquid out of that, as well.
2) Smear half of the olive oil over the bottom and sides of a baking pan (I used an 8" by 8" square pan). Lay the thinly sliced onions, then the thick tomato slices, season well with sea salt. Squeeze some of the Italian herb goo over the tomatoes, or scatter fresh basil leaves. Now assemble the mozzarella chunks over the tomatoes and place the bread slices on top, the top should be covered with bread-- drizzle with remaining olive oil, sprinkle on garlic powder and more sea salt.
3) Bake uncovered for 25-45 minutes, depending upon your oven (convection or not, etc), until the bread is golden and crisp and the cheese has gone all gooey. Serve at once.
Serves 4 as a side or 2 main course vegetarian meals.