One of the perks of summer is fresh vine-ripened tomatoes just bursting with flavor. Brighten up your next barbecue with this fresh and easy to make bruschetta starter.

Set your cooker up for grilling.

  • 1 French baguette, 1/2 inch thickly sliced
  • 8 ounces balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pound of fresh mozzarella cheese, thickly sliced
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 30 cherry tomatoes, halved (about 1 pint)
  • 4-5 leaves of fresh basil, thinly sliced (divided)
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked peppercorn blend
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Add tomatoes, about 3/4 of the thinly sliced basil, smoked sea salt, peppercorn blend, minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium bowl and mix well and set over to the side.

​Add balsamic vinegar, sugar and pinch of salt to a sauce pan and cook on medium until it comes to a boil, stirring occasionally. When the vinegar reduces and becomes a thick syrupy consistency, remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool.

Slice your baguette into 1/2 inch slices and brush both sides with olive oil. Place your baguette slices on the grill and cook until lightly brown, turn and grill the other side.

​Line the grilled baguette slices on to a cooking sheet, spoon tomato basil mixture on top, add thickly sliced mozzarella cheese and place cooking sheet back on the grill about 30 seconds to melt the cheese and remove from heat.

​Drizzle balsamic glaze on top and dress with remaining basil leaves.

Cutting fresh herbs can be challenging at times. The easiest way to slice basil leaves is to stack clean dry leaves on top of each other and roll them up. Carefully cut basil lengthwise, keeping leaves together, turn 1/4 and cut again lengthwise. Then thinly crosscut the leaves.

​Have extra balsamic glaze? No problem. The glaze may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Balsamic glaze is the perfect compliment for vegetables, fruits and meats as well.

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