Piedmontese Beef Caprese
by Rafael Zamora, Chef , Vernon’s Hidden Valley Steakhouse, Albuquerque, N.M.
- 2 (8-ounce) Certified Piedmontese filet mignon steaks
- 1 to 2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- 6 fresh basil leaves
- 4 to 5 slices buffalo mozzarella cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar reduction
Preheat grill to high heat, at least 400°F.
Season the steaks with the salt and pepper. Place on hot grill for 3 minutes on each side. Remove from grill and let rest on a plate for 5 minutes.
Cut each filet into horizontal slices. Begin layering the steak, tomato, cheese, and basil, creating a stack or tower, adding a little olive oil into each layer. Garnish with basil leaf and drizzle with balsamic vinegar reduction.
Food For Thought: Balsamic Vinegar Reduction
The grade or quality of balsamic vinegar depends largely on the process by which it ages. The highest quality balsamic is aged in a series of aromatic wooden casks or barrels until the vinegar is reduced into a thick concentration of rich and complex flavors, ideal for both sweet and savory applications. Balsamic vinegar reduction draws inspiration from the aging process to produce a similarly viscous concentration of flavor, perfect for drizzling.
A balsamic vinegar reduction can easily be prepared at home. In a small non-reactive skillet or saucepan, add 1 cup balsamic vinegar. Bring vinegar to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half. The vinegar will continue to thicken as it cools.