Caprese Salad is one of my all-time favorites: Tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella with a splash of balsamic vinegar. Mmmm. Gorgeous and tastes great. Check out The Pioneer Woman’s arty treatment of a Caprese Salad here. Wow, right?
Because I love Caprese Salad and because I adore a grilled cheese sandwich (this is one of our family favorites) ~ I thought, why not combine those two loves in one? Why not try a Grilled Caprese Sandwich?
It’s turned out pretty. And delicious. Ready to try it?
All you need is a good loaf of bakery bread. (I chose Central Market’s Buttermilk Sourdough) and the Caprese standards: Tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella and balsamic vinegar.
Making the reduction is really the trickiest part. I am no expert but I learned a few things the hard way. First, make the reduction early (and open the windows ~ unless you love the smell of vinegar in your house all day long) because it takes some time. It’s potent in process … but believe me, it’s worth it.
For the reduction, use as much or as little vinegar as you like. I use the whole bottle so that I have extra ready for later. All you do to make the reduction is let the vinegar hit a light boil ~ then immediately turn the heat down and let it simmer on your cook top for a l-o-n-g time. Don’t rush it. Just simmer, simmer and stir, stir. When the consistency is nearly syrup-like, you’re finally done. Set that aside and let cool. (You can refrigerate the leftover reduction. It’ll keep a while in the fridge and it’s wonderful on so many things.)
Next, dice tomatoes and chiffonade basil leaves. Lightly salt and toss. Finally, pour in the reduction. Incorporate thoroughly without smashing up tomatoes. Allow to sit several hours. I think of this as a salsa (probably because I’m from Texas …). Try not to eat it all while it’s marinading. I usually double or triple the Caprese Salsa so I can enjoy it later on a squishy baguette or crostini or cereal (joking on the last one, really).
And now … the Grilled Caprese Sandwich!
Butter the bread, slice the mozzarella and layer: Bread, cheese, Caprese salsa, cheese and bread. Then place the sandwich on a grill pan and watch the magic happen. Gracious. It’s delicious.
Grilled Caprese Sandwich
2 tomatoes * 12 leaves basil * sea salt (to taste) * 4-6 T. balsamic vinegar reduction * sliced fresh mozzarella * 4 slices home-style bread
Dice tomatoes and chiffonade basil. Lightly salt and toss. Incorporate 4 – 6 tablespoons of the reduction thoroughly without mashing tomatoes. Allow to sit several hours.
Butter bread and assemble sandwich: bread, cheese, Caprese salsa, cheese and bread. Grill to perfection. Mmmm.
Makes 2 large sandwiches. Or slice in 2″ strips for a delish little happy hour treat.