2/3 cup olive oil
4 tsp. Dish off the Block Ciao Bella Italian Spice Blend
1 large clove of garlic, minced
¼ tsp. black pepper
2 ½ cups chopped tomatoes
2 Tbs. sugar
3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. olive oil
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups mozzarella or Italian blend shredded cheese
Combine olive oil, Italian seasoning, garlic, and black pepper in a small jar and cover. Shake vigorously to bring out the flavor of each spice. This flavored oil should be made as far in advance as possible (overnight is good) so that the most possible flavor can be drawn into the oil. Continue to shake the jar every so often so that the flavors are always blending.
Marinate the chopped tomatoes in the sugar, vinegar, olive oil, and salt for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Cut your bread into 3/4" slices and lay them out on a tinfoil covered cookie sheet. Brush both sides of each slice with your flavored oil, being careful to cover the surface of each piece without saturating it. Place in a 350° oven for 5-7 minutes until tops are slightly toasted. Remove from oven.
Strain the marinade from your tomatoes and spoon a small pile of them onto each slice of toasted bread. Top all with grated cheese.
Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and begins to bubble. Serve hot.
This recipe is one of my early inventions and each time I make it, the plate is clean in minutes! It took first place for the Appetizers category in one of my first ever contest entries - The Patriot Ledger recipe contest!