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Fresh Mozzarella Sandwich with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Pesto

February 24, 2012

A simple sandwich can sometimes be the greatest of creation. While every new hip takeout place is throwing in funky toppings these days, I still rely on little bakeries for fresh and tasty sandwiches. I can’t recall the number of mozzarella-tomato-basil combo I’ve had in my life, but it’s definitely sky high.

I particularly remember the one I had from Once Upon a Tart, a cute little cafe/bakery in the West Village. Very simple in its form, it has everything a great mozzarella sandwich should have: extremely fresh cheese, lots of basil, super sweet roasted tomatoes, and a soft, fresh bread to bring it all together. I recreated it at home with the best mozzarella I could find and it was divine.

Fresh Mozzarella Sandwich with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Pesto

Adapted from Once upon a Tart
Active time: 10 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Makes 4 sandwiches
Oven-Roasted Tomatoes
1 lb plum tomatoes, cored and cut into 4 rounds
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
A few turns of freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
4 4-inch squares focaccia
1 lb fresh mozzarella, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
A sprinkling of salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 recipe oven-roasted tomatoes
½ cup fresh basil (24 whole leaves)
½ basil pesto

Prepare the oven-roasted tomatoes:

Preheat oven to 475°F. Toss the tomatoes with the rest of the ingredients in a medium-size bowl. Place the tomatoes, cut side down, on a sheet pan.

Place the sheet pan in the oven, and roast the tomatoes until they begin to blacken around the edges, 25-30 minutes. Check the tomatoes occasionally to make sure they’re not charring. If they are, lower the oven temperature to 400.

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomatoes Sandwich

Assemble the sandwiches:

Cut the focaccia in half like a hamburger bun and lay it on your work surface with the bottoms closer to you and the matching tops directly behind them. Lay the mozzarella slices so they cover the bottom halves of the focaccia, and sprinkle the mozzarella with salt and pepper. Place a layer of roasted tomatoes over the cheese, and lay the basil leaves over the tomatoes.

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomatoes Sandwich

Using a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon, spread the pesto on the inside of the top half of the bread, making sure to coat the edges.

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomatoes Sandwich

Place the top halves on the respective bottoms. Rest one hand firmly on each sandwich. Use a serrated knife to gently saw the sandwich in half.

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomatoes Sandwich

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  • Jill February 16, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    This looks fab. Do you think you could make it ahead of time? I’m doing a baby shower and want to prep as much as I could…thoughts? Thanks for sharing!

    • Sandra February 17, 2013 at 9:01 pm

      Thanks! Yes, you can definitely make this ahead of time, especially roasting the tomatoes which need to cool down anyway. Since the bread is usually pretty thick and stands up well to all sorts of filling, I wouldn’t worry too much about it getting soggy if you assemble the sandwiches in advance. Hope this helps and good luck with the shower!