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Author Notes: My mother ceremoniously decided to buy two loaves of bread during her trip to Costco when we already had an overflowing pantry. Days went by even with my constant reminders but the loaves of bread remained untouched. The bread lover in me couldn't bear to see the loaves go to waste.
So, I decided to take matters into my own hands but couldn't decide between a bruschetta, garlic bread, or caprese salad for dinner, so this is what happened. I didn't have any basil on hand hence my use of "almost" in the name. Feel free to add basil for an extra pop of freshness and color and just so you can avoid using the word almost when people ask you what you're serving them!
Just a note: this recipe can be easily adjusted to feed a crowd and most ingredients can be changed out to fit your pantry and fridge but don't substitute the smoked mozzarella or skip the balsamic glaze. Both make a huge difference in flavor and is really what makes this dish unique! - Jenny Ly
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 4 thick slices of bread (I used a crusty rosemary and olive oil loaf similar to sourdough)
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 clove of garlic cut in half
- 8 thick slices of heirloom tomatoes
- 8 thick slices of smoked mozzarella
- (optional) fresh basil leaves
- Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the flame and simmer until the vinegar has reduced and thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5-10 minutes. Make sure to shake the pan a few times and stir occasionally. Don't walk away or you'll end up with balsamic vinegar candy (which isn't a bad thing really). Allow the syrup to cool while you assemble the crostinis.
- Spread the butter on both sides of the bread and toast in a toaster oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Flip them when they start to brown around the edges, about 5 minutes, and toast for another 5 minutes or until golden brown and toasted.
- Take the toast out and rub each piece with the exposed cut of garlic, using a pair of tongs to hold the toast steady so you don't burn yourself.
- Layer the slices of tomato and smoked mozzerella on top of the toast and drizzle with the cooled balsamic syrup. Serve immediately.