Last week, I made some bread, and I teased you with thoughts on what it could be used for. I made it specifically for this recipe, though I did end up using some of it just to eat.
It all started with this.
Well, over the last couple of weeks, the tomatoes have started to ripen. They’re small, slightly larger than cherry tomatoes, and yellow, since we wanted to try something new. We’ve been able to pick anywhere from six to 12 of them every day.
We’ve been harvesting more than we can eat, so we decided to come up with some way to make them central to a dish. What I came up with was a caprese.
A caprese salad is traditionally a simple salad made out of mozzarella, tomato, and basil, with a bit of salt and olive oil as a dressing. There are a ton of variations on that flavor profile, and I decided to add two things to it: bread for a base, and a balsamic reduction glaze.
Almost everything here is made from scratch. I made the bread in last week’s post. The tomatoes were home-grown. The balsamic reduction I made as well. The basil is store-bought, but I’ve grown it before, I just didn’t have any fresh on hand. Mozzarella is also something I bought, since I haven’t yet tried my hand at cheese making. Perhaps one day!
So, how can you make it yourself? Well, it’s pretty easy. The only difficult part is the balsamic glaze, to be honest. I have a couple of pieces of advice for that.
First up, if you have a vent hood for your stove top, use it. Heating up vinegar will gas your house, and it’s a very strong odor. I don’t have a vent hood, so it’s a bit of a challenge to make every time I do it.
Secondly, take it slow, and stop early. Every time I make it, I worry about it not thickening up as much as I want it to. Every time, it thickens up more than I expect. It’s easy to make something that basically solidifies, and then you’re going to have to heat it back up when you want to use it. Basically, you’re looking for bubbles like this. Once it reaches this point, it’s nearly done.
Other than that, it’s all about assembly. I personally like it both with the tomatoes on top of the cheese and the cheese on top of the tomatoes. It mostly just comes down to personal preference.
Homemade Caprese Bruschetta
- Cookie Sheet
- Pastry Brush
- Bread Knife
- Rubber Spatula
For the Balsamic Reduction
- 1 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
- ¼ Cup Brown Sugar
For the Caprese
- Tomatoes Quantities vary depending on size of tomatoes
- Mozzarella Thick fresh slices work best
- 4 Slices Bread Check out my bread recipes for options
- Basil Fresh, chopped or sliced
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Make the Balsamic Reduction
- Stir together the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar until the sugar dissolves.
- In a large flat-bottomed pan, cook the balsamic mixture over medium-high heat until it starts to bubble. Stir often to avoid burning. You're looking to reduce the volume by about half, which will take 15 minutes or so.
- Once the mixture starts to bubble, reduce heat to medium and stir until slightly thickened. It will thicken more as it cools. This recipe makes a large amount of reduction, so cut the amounts in half or in quarter if you don't need much.
Assemble the Caprese
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Slice your bread. I like slices about half an inch thick.
- Brush the bread with olive oil.
- Put the bread in the oven on your baking sheet and toast for five minutes.
- Remove toast from oven and flip it over. Turn the oven to its broiler setting.
- Layer on your tomato and mozzarella. It works fine in either order.
- Sprinkle with bits of basil.
- Bake under your oven's broiler until the cheese melts. This will likely only be a few minutes.
- Drizzle with balsamic reduction, to taste. Enjoy!