On this hot summer day I decided to mix things up a little bit and use a balsamic reduction instead of plain balsamic vinegar. The reduction is sweeter and more flavorful and sticks a little bit better to the salad.
To make the reduction, you're going to reduce the vinegar by half so make sure you account for that when deciding how much to use. I chose to use a 1/2 cup vinegar in order to make about 1/4 cup reduction.
Pour balsamic vinegar into a pan over high heat.
Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally to keep it from burning.
The cook time will depend on how much vinegar you are using. My 1/2 cup took about 5 minutes to reduce.
Depending what you prefer and what you will be doing with the reduction, you can also add brown sugar or wine to the sauce. For caprese, I prefer my balsamic reduction unadulterated.
Pour the reduced vinegar into another bowl to cool before use.
Now on to the rest of the salad! You can use any size or type of tomatoes, cut anyway you like, but I'm using what I had on hand: vine-ripened Campari tomatoes cut in thick slices. Fresh mozzarella is essential. I normally get my fresh mozzarella from the local Italian deli, Mona Lisa, in Little Italy but for the sake of hunger, I just stopped off at Albertson's. I've tried making this with other types of mozzarella and it just isn't the same :(
I chose to layer my salad with tomato slices, fresh basil, and pieces of mozzarella, but you can also just throw it all together and toss in a bowl.
Once your balsamic reduction has completely cooled, it is ready to drizzle over your delicious salad. It should have a nice syrup consistency now.
Add a drizzle of olive oil, and some fresh cracked pepper and sea salt to taste.. and Voilà!
The perfect yummy treat for a hot summer day!