It’s Memorial Day weekend, and so I thought what better way to celebrate such an occasion than with a hot melty bubbly decadent appetizer. You know me well enough by now to know that I really don’t need a specific occasion, let alone a reason, to eat melted cheese on a piece of bread. I can and will do it every single day of my life with no regrets whatsoever. Somehow though, I think the fact that it is a holiday weekend, helps this all go down a little smoother. Somehow I’m not the bad guy forcing you to endure a mountain of melted mozzarella with roasted tomatoes and homemade pesto with endless amounts of flatbread for dipping all for nothing because there is a specific purpose. It’s Memorial Day and how else can we show our patriotism? There is no other way believe me, I’ve checked. So you might as well not even try to fight it. Just give in to all this goodness and whip up a batch this Caprese Fundido this weekend. Your family will thank you, your friends will thank you, but most importantly, you’ll thank yourself.
We’re going to try and maximize the flavor of each layer of this dish. Instead of just using raw uncooked tomatoes for this, we’re going to enhance their flavor by roasting them in the oven. Toss your cherry tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake until roasted and slightly charred.
As with all dips and fundidos you need something to dunk into that vat of melted cheese. Instead of chips or tortillas in traditional fundido we’re gonna dip flatbread into it, cause I think it’s the perfect combo. Roll out some pizza dough to thin rectangles and place on a oiled baking sheet. Brush with oil on top and sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Bake until golden brown.
**Note: You can use store bought pizza dough for this, go to your neighborhood pizzeria and buy some from them, or you can make it yourself if you have the time. I have a recipe for it on my blog that is old but super great!**
To make the pesto, combine the basil, pine nuts, parmesan, garlic, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Pulse a few times until chopped through. Then while the machine is running, slowly stream in enough olive oil until you get a thick but somewhat smooth sauce. Give it a taste and then adjust seasoning accordingly, adding more salt or pepper as needed.
You can make the pesto in advance and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days until ready to use. Or you can also just use store-bought pesto if you’re in a time crunch.
To assemble the fundido, spread a bit of the pesto onto the bottom of two small oven-safe ramekins or one larger baking dish. Juste about a tablespoon or so, depending on your taste level. Then sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese and a few of the roasted cherry tomatoes.
Repeat the layers with a bit more pesto, then some more mozzarella cheese and cherry tomatoes. You’ll want to repeat this a few times until all the ingredients are used up.
**Note: When it comes to the pesto, you can add as much or as little as you’d like. Keep in mind that sine it is an olive oil based sauce, the more you add to the fundido, the more oily the fundido will be because as the cheese melts, it’ll release some oil as well.**
Once you’ve reached the last layer, sprinkle with a bit of cracked black pepper. If you want some more flavor, you can also sprinkle the top with Italian seasoning or crushed red pepper flakes if you want a spicy kick to it.
Bake until bubbly and the cheese has melted through. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh basil on top. Cut the flatbread into wedges and serve immediately while still hot.
You can also serve this will crackers, carrot sticks, celery or toasted baguette slices! Anything and everything is good to go here. Nothing is off limits. Well, let’s not get crazy. Let’s keep things within reason.
**Tip: If you notice that there is a lot of oil pooling on the top and you’re put off by it, you can skim it off right before serving! That’s from the pesto and the cheese!**
Switch up your Memorial Day appetizers this year and ditch the guacamole and chips and salsa and classic fundido and make this new take on the classic. Caprese Fundido is the way to go this year. You heard it here first. If you’re looking for a more classic fundido though, I’ve got you covered. This Chorizo Queso Fundido has your name all over it.
- 2 large bunches fresh basil leaves
- 1 large garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup to ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 (16-ounce) pizza dough
- tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups shredded mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- To make the pesto, combine the basil, garlic, pine nuts, cheese, lemon, salt and pepper. Pulse a few times to chop everything down. While the machine is running, slowly stream in enough olive oil to create a sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly, adding more salt or pepper as needed. Set aside.
- Cut the pizza dough in half and roll out each half on a lightly floured work surface to about ½-inch thick rectangles. Place on a oiled baking sheet. Brush the tops of each with olive oil and season with Italian seasoning. Bake until golden brown and crispy, about 18 to 20 minutes.
- Toss together the cherry tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, until soft and slightly charred. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Spread a little pesto on the bottom of an oven-safe baking dish. Sprinkle with a third of mozzarella cheese on top. Top with half of the cherry tomatoes. Then repeat with some more pesto, more mozzarella, and more cherry tomatoes. Bake until the cheese is bubbly and melted, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with the flatbread.