The epitome of Summer is a Caprese Salad. I have yet to meet one person who doesn’t like like them. Let me rephrase, that doesn’t LOVE them! Tomatoes, fresh Mozzarella, and Basil are the perfect backdrop for premium quality olive oil. This is most certainly not the dish to skimp on quality ingredients!
Some people use regular balsamic vinegar or a balsamic vinaigrette on their Caprese salads, which isn’t a bad option. Your end result is similar ingredients and flavor profile.
But have you tried a Caprese Salad with Balsamic Glaze? It’ll change your life! Alright, I may be exaggerating a bit, but in all seriousness the few extra steps it takes to make the vinegar into a glaze is certainly worth it! You’ll thank me.
It still has a bit of a tang as it is derived from vinegar, but it’s much sweeter than putting straight vinegar or balsamic vinaigrette on your salad. It’s also great for more than just a Caprese! Here are my favorite things to top off with this Glaze!
Applications for Balsamic Glaze
• Figs – I mean, do I even need to explain this one?! Oven roasted figs with goat cheese or blue cheese and drizzle with the balsamic glaze and a bit of local honey! The perfect savory “dessert” you’ll die over!
• Cheese plates – There are more ways to put a cheese platter together than I can count but changing up the accoutrements is always fun! Balsamic glaze would pair well with dried fruits, honeycomb, nuts, and a plain cracker or bread.
This Balsamic Glaze would make a great topper to drizzle on salads you’ve dressed with balsamic vinaigrette too. It will add an extra layer of flavor and richness to plate.
• 2 cups high quality balsamic vinegar
• 1/2 cup brown sugar (optional)
1. Add balsamic vinegar (and brown sugar if using) to a small pot or saucepan over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil.
2. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally until the vinegar thickens and is reduced to approximately 1/2 cup (about 20 minutes). If the you've opted to use the sugar in your recipe the simmer time may only take around 8 - 10 minutes. The consistency should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
3. Remove from the heat and cool completely before using (approximately 15 minutes).
Notes: Yields – Approx. 1/2 cup. The glaze will thicken slightly as it continues to cool. Store unused glaze in the fridge for up to 1 week. When using cold remaining glaze, you may want to remove from the fridge ahead of use to allow it to come to room temperature as it may solidify slightly in the fridge.
If I could survive on only one meal all Summer long, Caprese Salad might be it. First Avenue Extra Virgin Olive Oil makes all the difference too! Paired with the Balsamic Glaze recipe from above, you'll have an appetizer everyone will flock to the table for! If gluten is not a part of your diet, you can easily omit the bread by dressing the tomatoes and cheese simply, on a pretty serving platter. Alternatively, for a party or get together you can make Caprese skewers that are easy to eat with one hand while mingling.
Caprese Salad Recipe
• 1 - 2 Heirloom Tomatoes
• 6 - 8 ounces Burrata or fresh Mozzarella cheese
• 1 Baguette
• 8 Basil leaves
• 4 Tbsp. First Avenue Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 4 Tbsp. Balsamic Glaze
• sea salt (to taste)
• A couple cranks freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. (if you want to toast your bread. This is optional)
2. Cut about 8 slices of bread on a bias from the baguette. Pour 1 Tbsp. of First Avenue Extra Virgin Olive Oil into a small bowl. Brush the bread slices lightly with evoo.
3. Toast your bread in the oven until it's golden brown (you can opt to leave your bread fresh if you prefer). Keep a close eye on it. No one likes burnt bread.
4. Slice both your tomatoes and cheese about 1/4 inch thick.
5. Pick enough Basil leave to cover each slice of bread.
6. To build the Crostinis, lay your toasted bread on your serving tray. Cover each slice of bread with whole Basil leaves. Next, layer a slice of cheese on top of the Basil. Last, to top off the Crostini, a tomato slice is placed on top of the cheese slices.
7. Drizzle the whole plate with the remaining First Avenue Extra Virgin Olive Oil and then again with Balsamic Glaze.
8. Season the top of each tomato with a healthy dose of sea salt and pepper. It's important that you do this last, otherwise drizzling with the evoo and the Balsamic Glaze can sometimes wash your seasonings off your Crostinis and onto your plate. You want the flavor to stay on your food!
Secret: If you love the idea of the Balsamic Glaze, but don't have the time to devote to making your own from scratch, there are store bought versions available! My favorite is the Trader Joe's brand, but I always recommend homemade whenever possible.