Bursting-with-flavor Caprese French Bread Pizza is brushed with garlic-infused olive oil, layered with fresh mozzarella and thinly-sliced tomatoes, and baked until bubbly before getting finished off with ribbons of basil and a balsamic reduction!
1small bunch basilsuch as from a 2/3-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, 1/2 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.
You will probably have leftover balsamic reduction after you eat your pizza. Drizzle it over berries, peaches, steak, bread...it's good on so many things!