Fresh Nectarine, Basil, & Fried Mozzarella Stacks with Balsamic Reduction
As summer winds down, my kitchen is stock full of stone fruit. Nectarines, cherries, mangoes, apricots, peaches and plums all fall under the name “stone fruits” because of their large hard seeds. They are native to warm climates and are at their peak from June through September, so enjoy them while you can! :)
I have a batch of beautifully ripe nectarines. I love them for their smooth outer skin, and incredibly sweet flesh. They are beautiful to cook or bake with because of their color, and I couldn’t wait to work on a recipe celebrating the nectarine.
One of my favorite indulgences is a simple Caprese salad stack - ripe, seasoned tomatoes paired with fresh basil and creamy cold mozzarella. I also love adding in salty prosciutto to dress it up a little. There’s something about this classic combination that is so simple and satisfying. Stacked food is fun, pretty to look at and serve, and super easy!
I thought that a great recipe featuring nectarines would be a twist on a Caprese stack. And what better way to step it up than to fry the mozz? I mean… so good. These tasty stacks are so sophisticated in flavor, but with very little work! Ready in 15 minutes. Let’s get cookin :)
What You Need: (Serves 4 Stacks)
4 large nectarines or peaches
12 fresh basil leaves
12 oz fresh mozzarella
¾ cup GF panko bread crumbs
¼ cup GF flour
1-2 eggs, beaten
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp cayenne
½ cup balsamic vinegar (I have TJ’s brand)
1 tsp brown sugar
What To Do:
- Start your balsamic reduction by heating a small saucepan on medium-high heat. Add vinegar and brown sugar, and allow it to reach a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and let it reduce over 10-15 minutes. Remove it from the heat and pour your glaze into a bowl so that it can thicken as it cools.
- Beat your eggs in a small, shallow dish. Combine all the dry ingredients into a shallow dish and use a fork (or chopsticks in my kitchen :P) to mix the flour, panko, and seasoning.
- Slice the fresh mozzarella in 1/2” thick rounds. When I originally made this, I cut my mozz into slightly thinner slices, and when I fried them they flattened out quite a bit. It’s nice to have thick, hearty slices in your stacks.
- Dip each mozzarella slice into the egg, and then into the coating mixture, and place them aside.
- Slice the nectarines into 1/2” thick rounds.
- Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add 1 tsp of olive oil and sear both sides of each nectarine slice for a minute until it is slightly warmed through, but still firm. Searing the outside brings the sugars out of the fruit, caramelizing and creating a beautiful sugary crust. I chose to use my cast iron grill pan, so that I could attain gorgeous grill marks on the fruit. No worries if you don’t have one, a regular skillet does a great job.
- Drizzle 1 tsp olive oil to the skillet heat on high. Once the pan is hot, fry the mozzarella, turning it only once as the cheese will start to melt quickly. Once the cheese gains some color, you can turn the heat a little lower so that the cheese doesn’t ooze outwards. Blot quickly with paper towels and place aside. Be careful! You don’t want to leave them to drain on paper towels as the cheese will stick to the paper :)
- Put together your stacks! Start by placing a fried mozzarella round on a plate, topping it with one nectarine and a basil leaf. Repeat these layers until you’re happy! I put aside the nectarines with the prettiest grill marks to use for the top :P Top with basil and a crack of fresh pepper. Use a spoon to drizzle your homemade balsamic reduction over the stacks and serve while the cheese is warm.
Warmed, sweet nectarines are paired with crisp-edged gooey mozzarella, with the spicy-sweet flavor of fresh basil. Reducing balsamic vinegar creates a fuller, more rich flavor that brings out the natural sweetness in the fruit. This is a lovely way to enjoy ripe stone fruit! It would be delicious with peaches as well. Each bite melts in your mouth, with flavors so complex you’ll wonder why something so simple could be so delicious.
The fried mozzarella is deliciously crispy outside and gooey inside. The grilled nectarines are so sweet and pair perfectly with the cheese! Not to mention it's pretty to look at :)