Caprese French Bread Pizza features garlic-infused olive oil, fresh mozzarella, thinly-sliced tomatoes, ribbons of basil, & balsamic reduction drizzled on top!
Happy August, y'all! How is school already right around the corner? Eeek! I intended to share this recipe earlier in the week but -- speaking of that impending school start date -- we decided to squeeze in one last summer hurrah with a quick trip to our favorite hill country resort, where we spent a few days playing in the pool and and eating s'mores and willing August to stretch out just a liiiiittle bit longer. Alas, when I encountered some technical difficulties attempting to publish my post from vacation land, I ultimately gave up and decided to push it back to today. Sorry 'bout that...but I can assure you that this Caprese French Bread Pizza is well worth the wait!
I suppose it's obvious that I'm a tad obsessed with all things caprese, seeing as how this is my second such recipe in less than a month. But how could anyone not love the combo of fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, and fresh basil? Fresh, fresh, fresh! And this caprese recipe is even better, because...hellooo? PIZZA! French bread pizza, to be exact, which means the fresh ingredients get further enhanced by a healthy dose of carbs. And garlic. And balsamic vinegar. But we'll get to those deets momentarily...
Let's start from the beginning, shall we? Put a small pot of balsamic vinegar on the stove so that it can gently simmer and reduce. While it's working, take a loaf of French bread and slice it lengthwise to create a top and bottom half. Then whip up the garlic-infused olive oil -- inspired by the dipping oil you may find at your favorite Italian restaurant -- which simply involves pressing a few cloves of fresh garlic into some extra-virgin olive oil and seasoning with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
This pizza doesn't feature traditional pizza sauce. Rather, brush this flavored olive oil on the cut sides of both bread halves so that it soaks down and fills the crevices with glorious garlic goodness.
Now comes the cheese. Cover the garlicky French bread halves with slices of fresh mozzarella, and then top that mozzarella with a couple of thinly-sliced, ripe, red tomatoes (cue those homegrown beauties if you have 'em). Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, then pop your pizzas in the oven and bake until the cheese is bubbly and just starting to brown around the edges and the tomatoes have turned soft and sweet.
As soon as your Caprese French Bread Pizza comes out of the oven, top with a shower of fresh basil ribbons and drizzle with that syrupy balsamic reduction. Slice and enjoy immediately! Because enjoy you will...the combo of garlic bread, melty cheese, caramelized tomatoes, bright basil, and sticky-sweet balsamic vinegar is OUT OF THIS WORLD AMAZING.
Yup, it totally justifies a second caprese recipe this summer...and I totally know what I'm making on our next Still-Celebrating-Summer-Cuz-School-Can-Wait-A-Bit-Longer Pizza Night. You? 😉
More Tomato Goodness
- Corn, Tomato, & Avocado Salad
- 30-Minute Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce
- Tomato, Cucumber, Poppy Seed Salad
- Balsamic Roasted Tomatoes
Caprese French Bread Pizza
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 large loaf French bread, soft, not a baguette
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
- ½ teaspoon salt, plus additional
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 16- ounce log fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 small bunch basil, such as from a ⅔-ounce package, washed, dried, & sliced in a chiffonade
- Make the balsamic reduction by pouring the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and bring the vinegar to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes or until the vinegar has thickened and reduced by half (it should coat a spoon). Watch carefully as it can burn very quickly. Once the balsamic vinegar reduction is done, transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.
- Place rack in center position of oven and preheat to 400°F. Slice French bread in half lengthwise (so that there's a top half and a bottom half). Place pieces cut-side-up on a baking sheet (if the top half is too rounded, you may slice off a thin piece so that it sits flat). All topping ingredients will be evenly divided between the two halves of the loaf.
- In a small bowl, combine the pressed garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and olive oil and stir to combine. Brush the oil mixture on the cut surface of each bread half, using a spoon to make sure all of the little pieces of garlic are evenly distributed. Evenly cover the bread halves with mozzarella slices and then tomato slices. Sprinkle with salt (I like using kosher salt here) and pepper. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and just starting to brown around the edges and the pizza is heated through. Drizzle with balsamic reduction. Sprinkle with ribbons of basil. Slice into wedges and serve hot.