Garlic Bread is always a fan favorite. Now imagine this fav topped with other love, ripe tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, drizzled with a sweet and tangy balsamic reduction. Hungry yet? Best of all it requires very few ingredients and a short prep, pretty close to being ready to eat! The key to this dish is using really high quality ingredients, like perfectly ripe red tomatoes, fresh mozzarella (not the kind you use on pizza), fresh spicy basil, good bread and lastly, a splash of a nice balsamic vinegar. I like to intensify the balsamic by adding honey and reducing it into a delicious syrup but you can skip that step if you don’t have time. It’s hard to go wrong with a good balsamic vinegar. Mmmm…
I’m not even going to talk about the nutrition of this dish because you just want to eat the whole thing because it’s so good! That said, instead of the relatively empty, fat-laden calories of most garlic bread, the addition of real food on top ensures you’re getting some good vitamins and minerals in there. Everyone already knows about tomatoes and lycopene and antioxidants… Eat on!
Only my most loyal readers will notice that I didn’t post anything last week. My Dad was in town, for the first time in almost 9 years and the first time he’s had to deal with our current airport security nightmare. I’m sure no one will fault me for spending every moment with my wonderful father. My sister, Margaret and her husband Scott flew down with Dad for the weekend too. Margaret the Human got to meet Margaret the Chicken. For those of you who don’t know what that means, read about my new passion, my mini chicken rescue ranch: (copy and paste) https://www.facebook.com/Mrs-Vs-Rescue-Chickens-1500893156880649/
We went on lots of dog walks, including Crissy Field with the lovely backdrop of the golden gate bridge. Even after all these years, sometimes I think the GGB looks like a prop on a set because it’s so picturesque. We even went to iconic San Francisco show, Beach Blanket Babylon, which became a longtime favorite of Mom’s and Dad’s after I took them 30 years ago. I did cook (you will forgive me if I didn’t share) but we also frequented many local restaurants. Love you Dad!
TIPS: For this dish, I like to use a long thin baguette which develops a nice crispy crust and is also the perfect width for a sliced tomato. If you like a heavier bread ratio, use a thicker sourdough or ciabatta loaf, but you may need to double the garlic butter quantity. For a quicker prep time, buy pre-sliced fresh mozzarella or try out a vegan version by checking our Miyako’s Kitchen’s new vegan mozzarella. There are NO substitutions for fresh, ripe tomatoes… so plan ahead and set them in your windowsill to ripen for a few days.
CAPRESE GARLIC BREAD
- 1 thin baguette (sourdough or ciabatta loaf-see TIPS)
- 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced (or garlic paste)
- 12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 2-3 medium tomatoes
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- Slice baguette in half lengthwise, then cut in halves or thirds (whichever fits on your baking sheet) In a small bowl,combine butter and garlic. (You could also add a dash of Italian Seasoning if you wish) Spread evenly over bread.
- Slice tomatoes and mozzarella into 1/2 inch rounds.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place bread on large baking sheet cut side up. Bake for 3-5 minutes, or until butter is melted and edges are golden.
- Remove from oven and arrange mozzarella slices on bread and bake in oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted but not falling off. You can turn to broil for the last few minutes, if desired.
- While bread is cooking, reduce balsamic vinegar. Bring vinegar and honey to a boil, in a small saucepan, reduce heat and simmer for 7-10 minutes, stirring often, until vinegar is reduced by half or until vinegar is a nice syrupy consistency. Remove from heat.
- Remove bread from oven, line with tomato slices, season with salt and pepper and basil. You have the option of cooking for another couple of minutes or serving tomatoes room temp. Drizzle with balsamic reduction. Cut into tomato sized slices and serve.
Caprese Garlic Bread