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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Caprese Sandwich

Like I mentioned in my caprese skewers post, I am wild about caprese. Insalata Caprese is my  favorite Italian dish, and I especially love the versions with balsamic vinegar. Actually, I'm really just a rabid cheese fan (a Wallace-style obsession) as well as a lover of vinegar and fresh tomatoes. I'm prone to eating any of the key ingredients plain by themselves, so this dish that combines them all was made for a person like me.

I have to say that the success of this dish hinges on having fantastic tomatoes. And since right now the farmer's markets have the end of season's tomatoes, I recommend you start assembling this sandwich before summer's end.

My mother's heirloom Big Rainbow tomatoes
This sandwich has endless variables, such as utilizing balsamic reduction or white balsamic vinegar for a sweeter more concentrated flavor than normal vinegar. However, don't let yourself be limited to the variation I suggest below; I think shiso would be great additions to the basil, and I stuffed in some mizuna for extra ruffage in addition to the more traditional basil. Maybe add in some pesto! Or change up the bread, put it on sourdough or a french roll.

Credit for this recipe goes to my mother, who would make this dish with whatever fresh greens she had in the garden at the time. Her bunker crop of heirloom tomatoes made this dish possible, as well as her ability to grab fresh ciabatta bread from the farmer's market for me. One of the distinct disadvantages of my job is always working on the weekends and missing the farmer's market in town.

 Caprese Sandwich
Such a messy cook

1 ripe tomato suitable for slicing
fresh mozzarella cheese
3 tbs balsamic vinegar
3 tbs olive oil
fresh basil leaves and optional mizuna
2 ciabatta rolls
optional: balsamic glaze/reduction*

Cut the ciabatta rolls in half, and slice the mozzarella into roughly 1/3" slices. Slice the tomato the same way. Mix the balsamic vinegar and olive oil together and pour onto a place. Dip the slices of ciabatta cut side down in the mixture.Optionally, you can lightly toast the bread before dipping, for a crispier texture. (Hint: I'm way too lazy)
I like LOTS of vinegar

To assemble the sandwich, simply stack as many tomato and cheese slices as you want on top of one slice of ciabatta, then top them with basil leaves and some mizuna for extra crunch. Drizzle with the balsamic reduction and top with the other slice of dipped ciabatta.

If you can't find or don't want to use premade balsamic glaze, reduce a cup of balsamic vinegar by heating on the stove top by bringing the vinegar to a boil over medium heat and then lowering the heat to keep it at a simmer until balsamic vinegar has reduced to a syrup. Let cool before drizzling, and stick extra in the fridge.

Without the glaze, heavy on the dipping
See Also:
Braunschweiger Sandwich
Caprese Skewers
Breakfast Grilled Cheese with Hash

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