This is one of those sandwiches that screams Summer.
The other day I walked into this bakery and was beholden-ed by some of the most beautiful and enticing loaves of bread I have seen in a while. They were all something special and made with great care but it was the Ciabatta loaf that really caught my eye. It was begging me to buy it and make it into sandwiches. It just looked so perfect – crusty on outside but soft and airy on the inside, long and just flat enough to properly sandwich the ingredients I had in mind without overpowering them with too much dough.
I immediately knew I had to pick up some fresh mozzarella and basil since I had tomatoes, organic baby spinach, decent balsamic vinegar to reduce and the handful of other ingredients needed to make my signature Summer Caprese Sandwiches with Balsamic Reduction and Spinach.
This sandwich is all about layering the flavors, the right bread and reducing the Balsamic Vinegar. You want to spend the 10-minutes it takes to reduce the vinegar because it has an intense, yet amazing flavor, doesn’t drip out of the sandwich and leaves you with a tangy dipping sauce to adorn your sandwich. Trust – this is the best part. You have to do it.
- This sandwich is all about good bread, so my suggestion is to look for a soft and airy loaf with a crisp crust that isn’t too dense. Ciabatta was my choice, but I also think a nice Baguette or Peasant Bread would be fantastic.
- Try to get the best tomatoes you can. I normally use Heirloom but was out and chose Beefsteak. They were good but the Heirloom or Roma make this great!
- You can make the Balsamic Reduction ahead of time – even a couple of days. If you do, it makes assembling these sandwiches a 5-minute event, which is fabulous when you are feeding hungry people.
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 12-ounce Ciabatta Loaf
- 1.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup organic baby spinach leaves
- 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 10 to 12 large basil leaves
- Pour vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Lower to a strong simmer, stir occasionally and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until reduced by ½. Allow to cool completely and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Slice Ciabatta in half leaving spine in tact. Drizzle olive oil and nice amount of balsamic reduction over bread. Give a sprinkle of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Layer baby spinach leaves and sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle tomato layer with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Finish by layering sliced mozzarella and basil leaves. Fold closed and cut into 4 portions.
- Serve with a bit of balsamic reduction on the side for dipping sauce and Enjoy!