One of my favorite dishes at a local bistro is called the tomato stack. They alternate thick slices of different colored heirloom tomatoes with slices of fresh mozzarella, then top it with julienned basil strips and drizzled balsamic reduction.
I have wanted to try it myself for some time but could never figure out how to make the reduction. I searched online for recipes, but none of the recipes that called for a balsamic reduction told how to make it.
I finally found a couple of recipes, but each one was so different that it was hard to tell how to make it. So I experimented and found the right way to do it.
The thing that amazed me most was that all that went into it was balsamic vinegar. I figured there would be some sugar or other sweetener, but the vinegar gets incredibly sweet as it cooks down. So, here is my recipe:
Makes about 1/3 cup
Measure 1 cup of balsamic vinegar and pour into a saucepan.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low.
Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about 2/3.
It should be sweet and slightly thick; the reduction will thicken as it cools.
Great on Heirloom Tomato-Mozzarella-Basil Stacks (see below), grilled lamb, or fresh figs.
Heirloom Tomato Mozzarella Basil Stacks(Insalata Caprese)
4-5 ripe heirloom tomatoes, various colors
1 lb. fresh mozzarella (packed in water)
Fresh basil leaves
One recipe Balsamic Reduction (see recipe above)
Wash the tomatoes well and slice in thick slices (about 1/2 inch each).
Slice the mozzarella in thick slices.
Wash and dry the basil and julienne (see below).
On separate serving plates, alternate tomatoes and mozzarella .
Drizzle balsamic reduction on top and sides of stacks and around edge of plate.
Sprinkle basil on top and around plate.
To julienne basil, stack 4 or 5 washed basil leaves, then roll them up, cigar style. Slice the rolled basil to make thin strips.