simple caprese grilled cheese sandwiches full of cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
2 lbs cherry tomatoes
4 fresh thyme sprigs
½ tsp kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 loaf Italian bread, sliced ¼”
12 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced ¼”
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
10–12 large fresh basil leaves
Heat a Dutch oven (or a heavy-bottom pot) over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Add the sliced shallots and let cook for a few minutes until tender and slightly caramelized.
Add the cherry tomatoes, thyme sprigs, and salt. Let cook until the tomatoes begin to burst. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the garlic. Continue to cook until the tomatoes are soft and jammy, about 20 minutes or so, stirring often.
Heat a griddle over medium heat. Pair the slices of bread up into two’s and lay the “bottoms” out. Layer the fresh mozzarella cheese onto the bread. Season the cheese with a pinch of salt. Evenly distribute the shredded mozzarella cheese in mounds over top.
Spoon the cooked cherry tomatoes onto the mozzarella. Gently tear the basil leaves into small pieces and sprinkle a generous amount over the tomatoes. Close the sandwiches with the “top” pieces of bread.
Drizzle enough olive oil onto the griddle to fully coat it. Once hot, gently transfer the sandwiches to the griddle. Cook until crisp and golden on one side, lowering the heat if needed so the bread doesn’t burn.
Drizzle a little more olive oil over the sandwiches. Use a spatula to gently flip them over. Once the second side is crisp and golden, and the cheese is melted, transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board.
Cut the sandwiches in half. Top with a pinch of sea salt and more fresh basil.
The sandwiches should be packed with cheese, so work with them as carefully as possible when transferring and flipping them so that the cheese stays intact.