Photo: John Autry; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross
Hands-on Time
20 Mins
Total Time
20 Mins
4 servings

Serve with sweet potato chips or a simple green salad.

How to Make It

Step 1

Bring balsamic vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until reduced to 3 tablespoons (about 8 minutes).

Step 2

While vinegar reduces, brush cut side of top half of bread with oil. Top evenly with basil, cheese, and tomatoes. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Brush cut side of bottom half of bread with reduced vinegar; place on top of sandwich. Invert sandwich.

Step 3

Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray. Add sandwich to pan. Place a cast-iron or heavy skillet on top of sandwich, and gently press to flatten. Leave skillet on; cook 3 minutes on each side or until cheese melts and bread is toasted. Cut sandwich into 4 equal pieces.

Ratings & Reviews


June 15, 2017
Made to recipe using tomato & basil fresh off the plants.  Even though our ingredients were great, the sandwich was just OK.   Maybe you'll have better luck.

3 1/2 stars

October 21, 2017
I used the last of our garden tomatoes and basil for this recipe.  We added some bacon to the sandwich for a heartier meal.  Market did not have Cuban bread so substituted French bread.  I think next time I'll drizzle the balsamic on at the end because it seemed to make the sandwich a bit mushy with the liquid from the tomatoes.  Flavors were very good though.  Using our panini press makes this super quick and easy.

Oliver10's Review

August 24, 2011
My husband loved it and he is a meat & potatoes guy. Said to make sure to keep the recipe.

Shariren's Review

November 16, 2011
My husband and I made these as a light dinner and thoroughly enjoyed. The balsamic glaze is a little smelly to cook but completely makes the recipe.

TheMomChef's Review

August 19, 2011
This is a very classic combination; tomato, basil and Mozzarella. The addition of reduced balsamic vinegar is a great idea. Unfortunately, the basil leaves were not enough to counteract the very sweet reduction. I would suggest rubbing the side of bread with extra virgin olive oil.

ESmith6's Review

September 13, 2014
I made these for dinner tonight and took a couple of liberties with the recipe. First, I didn't want to risk ruining the balsamic so I just brushed it on the bread without reducing it. Second, I added bacon because my husband wanted some meat in the sandwich. It was delicious!!

SusanC10's Review

October 29, 2011
I have not made this reduction, but I often just use balsamic vinegar right out of the bottle on panini and it is delicious. This combination is outstanding on any bread.

JuliaGulia529's Review

September 01, 2011
Simple, delicious, served it with some BBQ chicken and it was a winner.

ttsholland's Review

May 10, 2012
excellent, just be careful the balsamic thickens quickly

Whygal's Review

October 21, 2011
I don't know what I did but my balsamic reduction hardened once I made it. I had to pry it off the spoon, pan, and spatula; therefore, there were hard globs of it on the sandwich. I have another recipe that uses pesto rather than balsamic and evoo as the "spread." I think I will stay with that sandwich rather than this one. This is one of the few recipes from CL that has been a bomb for me.