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Cristina Ferrare Shares Model Recipes for Healthy, Fresh Meals

Learn how to make watermelon salad, grilled lamb chops, strawberry shortcake and more

Tomato-Mozzarella Tower With Shallot- Bacon Dressing

Adapted from cristinaferrarecooks.com

Cristina Ferrare Home and Family on the Hallmark Channel (Tara Donne)

Be sure to use high quality white bread, heirloom tomatoes and fresh buffalo mozzarella for optimal taste. — Tara Donne

Serves 6

  • 6 slices really good white bread
  • 1 pint baby Roma tomatoes, red and yellow, for garnish
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 2 tablespoons finely chop ped shallots
  • 2 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar
  • 6 heirloom tomatoes; make sure they are uniform in size (if you can't find heirlooms, use regular organic tomatoes)
  • 2 (6-ounce) packages buffalo mozzarella
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • Fine kosher salt
  • Cracked pepper

1. Cut 6 bread rounds using a 41/2-inch cookie cutter. Set aside.

2. Slice the baby Roma tomatoes in half lengthwise. Set aside.

3. Fry the bacon in a skillet until crispy. Remove the bacon from the skillet and place on a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Lower the heat under the skillet to medium, add the shallots to the bacon drippings and sauté for 30 seconds or until the shallots start to turn a bit crispy.

4. Add the apple-cider vinegar. With a wooden spoon, stir well, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour into a small bowl and set aside to use as dressing.

5. Return the skillet to the stove and reheat over medium heat. Add as many bread rounds as will fit in the pan. Lightly toast both sides of the bread. Set aside.

6. Crumble the cooked bacon into small bits and set aside in a small bowl. Cut the heirloom tomatoes into slices slightly less than 1/2-inch thick. You should have 18 slices that are consistent in size. You will have some tomato left over.

7. Cut the buffalo mozzarella into 12 slices, slightly less than 1/2-inch thick each and consistent in size.

8. Stack all 10 of the basil leaves on top of one another, roll them into a cigarette shape, and slice thin.

9. To assemble the tower, make an assembly line with all of your ingredients: the bread, heirloom tomatoes, salt, pepper, shallot-bacon dressing, bacon bits, sliced mozzarella and basil.

10. Place 1 toasted bread round on a salad plate, add a slice of heirloom tomato and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle on several tiny drops of shallot-bacon dressing and some crumbled bacon, letting a little fall onto the plate as well. Top with a slice of mozzarella cheese and then another slice of tomato. Repeat this process until you have 3 slices of heirloom tomato and 2 slices of mozzarella cheese in your tower.

11. On each tower's top tomato slice, sprinkle more bacon bits, then lightly drizzle a bit more dressing, including some on the plate for a professional look. Garnish with a few strips of basil.

12. Add 5 to 6 baby Roma tomato halves to the plate and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt. Repeat for the remaining 5 towers. Serve.

Nutrients per serving: 214 calories, 13g protein, 20g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 10g fat (5g saturated fat), 22mg cholesterol, 584mg sodium, 549mg potassium

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