This easy tomato mozzarella salad is so refreshing and perfect for a spring or summer side dish, plus you can make it a few different ways!
As you all know, the Oh, Sweet Basil cookbook, Our Sweet Basil Kitchen launched on March 7th and we’ve been so thrilled to see all of your pictures of the cookbook hanging out in your kitchens! We never dreamed of having this career but it’s been so much fun we just can’t imagine doing anything else.
On the front cover, and of course the recipe is in the book as well, is this Heirloom Tomato and Mozzarella Tart, which is really quite delicious and it looks fancy without taking any time at all, but we still wanted to show you a version you could make without turning on the oven. It’s a great gluten free side to take to barbecues or picnics too. It’s kind of like a caprese salad so if you’ve ever wondered how to make a balsamic reduction for a caprese salad keep reading.
What is a balsamic reduction?
It sounds so fancy I know you’re going to want to take off running, but don’t. What is a balsamic reduction? A balsamic reduction is just balsamic vinegar that has been cooked down until it’s a thick, syrup like consistency. It can also be called a balsamic glaze.
How to Make Balsamic Reduction
Want to know how to make balsamic reduction? Place about a cup of balsamic vinegar in a skillet over medium high heat. Your kitchen is going to smell like vinegar. You will smell like vinegar. It’s worth it. Once the vinegar begins to bubble and boil turn it down to medium low so that you don’t burn it. Cook it low and slow until it reduces down and becomes thick almost like honey. Remove it from the heat and it will continue to thicken as it cools. So how do you thicken balsamic reduction? You just wait and let it it do it’s thing. If it isn’t reducing try turning up the heat a little or switching to a lower lipped skillet. This is the skillet we use, a T-fal nonstick 12.5″ skillet. It’s ridiculously cheap but so far it’s been our favorite pan and has held up the best over the last 10 years, yes even the $200 pan didn’t pass the test.
On that same note, if it gets too thick and you need to know how to thin balsamic reduction, don’t worry it’s very easy. Just add a drop of balsamic vinegar and whisk, repeating as necessary.
How Long to Reduce Balsamic Vinegar
I had to make this a separate answer, how long to reduce balsamic vinegar because it can be a little tricky. It often takes about 30 minutes, but depending on how much you are reducing and how high the heat is you could do it in just 10 minutes as well. The important part is not how long to reduce it, it’s how to watch it. Notice where the vinegar hits on the side of the pan when you pour it in (we use a skillet as it works better to have a bigger surface area than a pot) and keep an eye on how it reduces down.
How to Store Balsamic Reduction and How Long to Store Balsamic Glaze
One of the most asked questions we’ve gotten is how to store balsamic reduction and how long you can store balsamic glaze. You can place it in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks in the fridge. It’s just vinegar so there’s nothing to worry about.
How to Use Balsamic Reduction
There are oh so many ways to use balsamic reduction. Obviously we have a few recipes which I’ll list, but over caprese salad, over chicken or other meats, fruit it wonderful with a balsamic drizzle and a little honey or sugar, and oh my goodness, crusty, garlicky bread is so good! I’ll add extra recipes at the bottom of the post.
How to Make Marinated Mozzarella Pearls
Finally, how to make marinated mozzarella pearls. This is the very best part of the recipe. You can buy marinated mozzarella pearls at most grocery stores or you can whip up a batch yourself. Start out with mozzarella pearls which come in a tub with liquid. Remove them and drain the liquid. In a bowl, whisk together a simple olive oil and herb dressing and toss it with the cheese. Really, if you can cover it and let it marinate for 24-36 hours that’s ideal but even right away will be delicious. That’s it!!
Shortcuts to Make Tomato Mozzarella Salad
If you don’t want to reduce the balsamic vinegar you can totally skip that too. Buy your cheese, tomatoes and a little vinegar and toss it all together and though the balsamic will be more tangy it is still a wonderful recipe.
Easy Tomato Mozzarella Salad
- ¾ cup good-quality olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves, minced fine
- 2 Tablespoons Minced Basil
- 2 Teaspoons Chopped Fresh Parsley
- ½ Teapoon Oregano, fresh or ¼ Teaspoon dried
- ¼ Teaspoon Pepper
- Splash of red wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Minced Red Bell Pepper
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 16 Ounces Mozzarella Pearls or Marinated Mozzarella Pearls *see note
- ½ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 Cups Halved Grape or Heirloom Tomatoes
- Fresh Basil or Parsley for Garnish
- In a bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients. Fold in the mozzarella and cover with saran wrap in the fridge for 1-36 hours before serving.
- Place the vinegar in a skillet, not a saucepan and cook over medium high heat until it begins to boil. Turn down to medium low and cook for up to 30 minutes or until thick. Ours took 11 minutes in a large skillet, almost 30 minutes in a very small skillet. Pour into a bowl to cool.
- Toss the tomatoes, mozzarella and a drizzle of the marinade in a bowl Add a sprinkle of salt and stir. Drizzle with balsamic reduction and sprinkle with the garnish. Serve immediately or within 1 day.
The mozzarella will keep in the fridge for up to 10 days.
This gorgeous tart only needs marinated mozzarella, puff pastry and tomatoes with a balsamic glaze!
This salad is so fresh and easy, but it looks so fancy!
Oh how we love this simple, fresh caprese salad!