Want to impress guests..and yourself? I don’t even like tomatoes, and I devoured these! The combination of the salty mozzarella, acidic tomato, peppery fresh basil, and bittersweet balsamic glaze is a classic for a reason! I made these this past summer during peak tomato season, so the tomatoes were perfectly ripe, right out of my parents’ garden. I personally like to de-seed the tomatoes prior to use just because I like the texture more that way – but you definitely don’t have to.
- 1 fresh French Baguette, sliced thinly on the bias
- 3-4 fresh roma or heirloom tomatoes (depending on size), sliced and de-seeded
- 1/2 log fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly
- a handful of basil, cut in to a chiffonade for garnish
- Extra virgin olive oil for garnish
- salt and pepper, to taste
For the reduction:
- 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar de Modena (I prefer Alessi brand)
- 1 tablespoon honey
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the balsamic vinegar in a medium sauce pot over low heat. Place the baguette rounds on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until crusty. As they bake, slice and de-seed your tomatoes. Slice mozzarella pieces about the same size as the bread rounds, and chiffonade the basil so everything is ready to go.
Once your balsamic vinegar has reduced by about half its volume (you should be able to see a line on the side of the pot where it started versus its volume now), add in the honey and whisk. Let the mixture cool down. It should be slightly syrupy, which is the goal.
Once the baguette is crusty, top with the mozzarella and return them to the oven for a couple minutes (keep an eye on them, you want the cheese to just start to melt). Pull them out of the oven once the cheese is molten and top each crostini with a slice of tomato, a few strands of basil, a sprinkle of salt, freshly cracked pepper, and a drizzle of the balsamic reduction.