Caprese Grilled Cheese with Balsamic Drizzle
Caprese salads are one of my favorite things. There’s something about the creamy, buffalo mozzarella with ripe tomato and fresh basil. I had an idea to make a grilled cheese version some time ago, and today, my vision came to life. I have to say that this Caprese Grilled Cheese with Balsamic Drizzle instantly turned into one of my favorite sandwiches ever! It’s crusty bread that’s been slathered with pesto sauce, with layers of fresh mozzarella and tomato, and grilled to perfection. What sets this sandwich apart from the others, you may ask? A balsamic reduction is drizzled over the tomato and cheese after grilling. Oh, this sandwich is going to hook you, too….that’s a promise! 🙂
Instead of fresh basil leaves, I decided to make a pesto sauce for this sandwich. Use my Lemon Pesto Sauce recipe, or buy store bought if you’re pressed for time. Pesto sauce is near and dear to my heart, and many of those bottled versions don’t taste fresh enough. It’s not pesto if you can’t taste that fresh basil flavor! I recommend buying a pesto sauce that’s in refrigerated section by fresh ravioli and tortellini. You’ll be glad you did! 😉
I was at Costco yesterday, and I bought a fabulous double pack of Panne Provincio Artisan Roasted Garlic bread. It’s nice and crusty, with tons of roasted garlic flecks all throughout. I’m a garlic freak, so this bread was a no brainer for me! I used that for these sandwiches, and it was outrageously good. :tounge: Sourdough or any other crusty bread would be great, too!
Now, about that balsamic drizzle. I made this by cooking one cup of balsamic vinegar in a saucepan over medium heat for about 20-23 minutes. The vinegar will reduce to about 1/4 cup, and will thicken and coat a wooden spoon when it’s done. Once it’s reduced, it’s like a syrup that’s very concentrated, and it’s tart and sweet. It just puts this sandwich over the top! The best part is you’ll have leftovers of the balsamic reduction to use in desserts, to drizzle over pizzas, or more sandwiches. This is good stuff! 😀 If you don’t have the time or patience to make this yourself, I have seen balsamic glaze sold in stores, and I’m sure that would be perfect here. If you’re not a fan, make it without! It’s great plain, as you can see from the picture below. 🙂
Once you make this sandwich, you’ll never look at regular old grilled cheese the same again. This is fresh, indulgent, and just downright delicious. I can’t say it any better than that. Get to it! Your new favorite sandwich is waiting for you. 😉
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 8 slices of your favorite crusty bread
- 8 teaspoons of homemade or store bought pesto sauce
- (8) ¼" slices fresh mozzarella
- (8) thin slices of fresh tomato
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Place the balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan and heat over medium. Stir often until it comes to a boil, then stir constantly until the vinegar reduces to ¼ cup and coats a wooden spoon, about 20 minutes total. Set aside.
- Preheat a grill pan over medium heat. Brush a light coating of olive oil over the pan.
- Spread one teaspoon pesto sauce over each slice of bread. Place two slices of fresh mozzarella over (4) bread slices. Place two slices of tomato over the mozzarella, and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Place the additional (4) slices of bread over the tomato. Lightly brush both sides of the sandwiches with olive oil. Place the sandwiches in the grill pan and grill 2-3 minutes per side, or until the bread is nice and golden brown. Remove from the pan. Remove the top piece of bread off of each sandwich, and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Serve immediately!
Recipe by Flavor the Moments