Sometimes simple is just better. This is a riff on the traditional Caprese salad. Contrary to many snobby online foodies, I think a drizzle of balsamic takes this to new and fantastic places. Then again, I’m using a much more modest grade of olive oil than pretension would dictate. As with nearly everything, it’s best to omit the sour grapes.
All that aside, this is a super fast, super easy, super cheap way to have a healthy weeknight dinner. Make more than you think you’ll need. Everyone goes back for seconds.
- 4 good-sized heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- ½ bunch of fresh basil, whole leaves and chopped
- Fresh mozzarella, sliced (it comes in all shapes and sizes, — just eyeball the amount that looks right to you.)
- fresh baguette (I used sourdough, this is SF after all, but French would work just as well)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Italian spices
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 400
- Slice baguette lengthwise and then cut each piece in half (so you have 4). Arrange bread cut-side up on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (think subtle flavoring not saturation). Sprinkle with minced garlic, Italian spices, and salt and pepper.
- Place single basil leaves side by side to cover each piece of bread. Place tomato slices in a single layer on top of basil and sprinkle with salt. Top tomatoes with a slices of fresh mozzarella. Lightly drizzle top with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Bake in over on middle rack for 15 minutes (or until mozzarella starts to slightly melt).
- Remove pan from oven, top with remaining chopped basil and serve immediately with your favorite wine.