This sandwich is nothing short of fantastic. Caprese salad is simply slices of tomato, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. It’s a fresh, summertime classic. I went a step further and sprinkled some balsamic vinegar on the bread to just kick everything up a notch. Oh so good!
There are two must haves for this sandwich: a hearty, crusty bread and fresh mozzarella. The bread has to be able to stand up to the vinegar and the mozzarella has to be moist, soft and very fresh tasting like fresh mozz is. You’ll find the fresh mozz in the specialty cheese section. It’s usually in a ball and packed in liquid and definitely worth splurging on every now and then.
While this sandwich is on the more expensive side of Budget Byte meals, it is still far less than the $8 that this would cost at the local po’boy shop. But, this was kind of a celebratory meal for me so I allowed myself to splurge. Also, if you grow your own basil (which I intend to do very very soon) then you’ll cut the price significantly. This sandwich would also be fantastic on some no-knead focaccia, which would also cost far less than the 3 ft long baguette that I bought. Oh well, next time!
Balsamic Caprese Panini
- 6 inches french bread $0.41
- 1 medium roma tomato $0.37
- 1 oz. fresh mozzarella $0.49
- 4-5 large basil leaves $0.53
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar $0.40
- 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.11
- to taste salt and pepper $0.05
- Wash and slice the tomato. Cut 3-4 thin slices of the mozzarella (about 1 oz. total). Remove the basil leaves from the stem.
- Slice the baguette in half and drizzle the olive oil and balsamic over the open surfaces. Place the tomato and mozzarella slices on the bread in alternating layers. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Place the basil leaves on top and either serve cold or place in a countertop grill (like my George Foreman), a panini press, or cook in a skillet until the bread is crispy and the cheese is melted.
Extra basil can be kept in the refrigerator or even frozen. Frozen basil will wilt upon thawing but will retain all of it’s potent flavor which makes it great for soups, sauces, or dressings.
Step By Step Photos
This is the fresh mozzarella that I used. This brand is fairly common and can be found in most major grocery stores. Oh look! They have a picture of a caprese salad right on the label! …just noticed that.
Slice the tomato, cut a few thin slices of cheese and pull a few big leaves off of the basil stems.
Slice the french bread in half and drizzle the balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the open sides. I used two tablespoons of balsamic this time but next time I might try just one.
Make alternating layers of tomato and mozzarella on the baguette.
Sprinkle on a little salt and freshly ground pepper. Top with fresh basil and serve. Or…