Mozzarella and Roasted Red Pepper Boo-schetta
- Active time: 45 min
Total time: 1 hr
This recipe is part of our Gourmet Modern Menu for Halloween: Spooky Snacks. Click here to view the full menu.
- 1 (12-inch-long) loaf of Italian bread (about 2 to 3 inches in diameter), cut into 20 slices, about 1/2 inch thick
- 1 to 2 large garlic cloves, halved crosswise
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 (1/2-pound) balls fresh, lightly salted mozzarella
- 2 tablespoons prepared basil pesto (see Cooks' Notes)
- 2 tablespoons mascarpone, softened
- 7 large pitted black olives (Mediterranean-style or canned California), ends trimmed and each olive cut crosswise into thirds
- 1 (7-ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained, patted dry, and cut into thin strips
Heat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.
Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet and bake until pale golden, 6 to 12 minutes. Rub tops of slices with cut sides of garlic, then brush each bread slice with oil. Season toasts with salt and pepper and transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely.
Cut mozzarella crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices and trim, if necessary, to fit toasts.
Stir together pesto and mascarpone in a small bowl. If necessary, thin mixture with a little olive oil or water.
Dollop 1/2 teaspoon pesto mixture in center of each mozzarella-covered toast, then top each dollop with an olive slice to form the "irises" of the "eyeballs." Add 6 to 8 pepper slices for "veins," trimming to fit.
Serve within 1 hour of making.
Prepared pestos can vary in texture. Some homemade versions can be very dense, while some store-bought ones can be quite loose with excess oil. If purchasing pesto, look for one that is not loose.
Bread can be toasted 4 hours ahead and kept at room temperature.
Boo-schetta should be assembled no more than 1 hour ahead and kept at room temperature because the fresh mozzarella will begin to weep a little liquid and soften the toast.