You can drizzle the top of each toast with some balsamic vinegar, or not (I've had it both ways and they are equally good). If you want you could pour the vinegar into a small saucepan, bring it to a boil, and then simmer over low heat to reduce it by half if you prefer a more syrupy texture, but of course I didn't bother. Lazy cook that I am, I even buy pre-sliced fresh mozzarella so I don't have to slice my own! Right now I am still harvesting basil from my herb pots, so this is a great way to use up some basil and enjoy a delicious, quick, and easy meal before cold weather sets in even here in Georgia and does away with my basil plants. What a great-tasting way to say farewell to summer!
Caprese Garlic Toast
2 slices ciabatta bread
1-2 T. garlic-infused olive oil
6 slices (about 3 oz.) fresh mozzarella
2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced
salt to taste
8 basil leaves, torn or julienned
balsamic vinegar to taste (optional)
Drizzle the ciabatta slices with the garlic oil. Place on a small foil-lined baking sheet and toast in a toaster oven until golden (almost one full toasting cycle on my oven). Layer three slices of cheese on each toast and return to the toaster oven to melt the cheese (less than half the time it took to toast the bread for my oven). Remove from the toaster oven and distribute the tomato slices evenly between the toast slices. Sprinkle the tomato slices with salt to taste, and then top with the basil. Drizzle carefully with balsamic vinegar to taste if desired (do not overdo it!). Serve immediately. Serves 1 generously.