It’s just garlic bread, folks, but it’s garlic bread with an upgrade! After running across this recipe at Two Peas and their Pod, I decided I needed to make it! I quickly sent texts to a few friends and invited them to come over for a light supper and four replied “YES”! I served this bread, a platter of cold shrimp, some sliced melon, iced tea and lemon meringue pie. It’s great having friends who are good with spur-of-the-moment things
The bread was very good! The Balsamic Reduction highlighted the simple tomato, cheese, and basil topping. I made a few changes to the original recipe: I used my own garlic bread base, I adjusted the cooking time for the balsamic reduction and I baked the tomatoes on the bread instead of laying them on after cooking. BTW, do not skip the balsamic reduction, it’s fabulous!
I hope you have some backyard (or farmer’s market) tomatoes on hand, because store bought tomatoes just aren’t invited to this party! And the photo above shows a bit too much cheese. I bought fresh mozzarella from Costco and it came pre-sliced, so I just went with it. Turns out I used double the cheese! Oooops! No one complained though :) The recipe below has the correct amount of cheese listed but if you want to up it a bit, that’s up to you. One other piece of advice, the tomatoes shrink when baked, so pile them on the bread. I think I could have added another slice of tomato to each row!
Caprese Garlic Bread
AKA: Garlic Bread with Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Basil
- 1 loaf sourdough bread, horizontally cut in half (french bread would work, too. The original recipe called for ciabatta, but I am in the SF Bay Area and sourdough rules around here!)
- 4 tablespoons salted butter, softened
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus and extra tablespoon or so for garnish)
- 3 Tablespoons dried onion, if you have it
- 2 teaspoons dried basil (or 2 Tablespoons fresh)
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley (or 2 Tablespoons fresh)
- 12 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2-3 medium tomatoes, sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- While you are getting all the ingredients together and doing the prep work, make the balsamic reduction. Place 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring the vinegar to a boil, decrease the heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced by about half. How do you know when the vinegar has been reduced by half? Keep the measuring jug near the pan. Every once in awhile pour the hot vinegar into the measuring cup. If it’s not at 1/4 cup yet, pour it back in the pan and continue boiling. Keep doing this until the vinegar has been reduced to 1/4 cup. This will take about 10-15 minutes. Set the reduction aside to cool. You won’t need to use it until just before serving.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a small bowl combine butter, garlic, dried onion, basil, parsley, and parmesan cheese.
- Cut the loaf of bread in half horizontally. Place both sides of the loaf on a large baking sheet with the cut side up. Spread the garlic butter mixture over both sides of the cut bread. Spread to all the corners and completely to the outer edge of the bread.
- Place the mozzarella cheese slices on top of the bread, making sure the cheese covers the bread completely.
- Top the cheese with the sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper, to taste. If desired, sprinkle a bit of parmesan cheese over the tomaotes.
- Bake the bread at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
- Remove the bread from oven. Sprinkle fresh basil over the top of the bread and drizzle with balsamic reduction.
- Cut into slices and serve.
That’s all there is too it! Enjoy the last of your summer tomatoes! They are special, aren’t they? And thanks for dropping by today!