Fried Mozzarella & Peach Stacks with Chandon Rosé
Shiny, black balsamic glaze oozing down a stack of fried mozzarella, grilled peaches, and fresh basil leaves — this appetizer is irresistible. It tastes as indulgent as it looks: puckery sweet, crispy, crunchy, juicy, peppery, and herby. It’s all the freshness of summer condensed into a 4-inch stack of goodness.
Mozzarella and peach stacks are a natural for an evening on the patio. We wouldn’t hesitate to serve them as a lavish appetizer or the first course of a fancy, meet-the-parents kind of meal. That said, you could treat yourself and stack the stacks on a bed of arugula dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette for a light dinner. (A few slices of baguette wouldn’t be out of place — it’s unmannerly to waste balsamic glaze.)
Our tip: The light, creamy bubbles of the Chandon rosé are just lovely with this dish — they soften all its pucker. We also like how the sparkling wine’s vibrant summer fruits (strawberries, watermelon, and red cherries) bring out the sweetness in the peaches and the basil.
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
1 cup panko bread crumbs
¼ cup flour
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp cayenne
12 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 8 thick, round slices
¼ cup olive oil, divided
4 large nectarines or peaches, sliced
12 large basil leaves
In a small saucepan, combine the balsamic vinegar and the brown sugar, and simmer on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the liquid reduces by about half and is slightly syrupy. Remove from the heat, pour into a glass container, and set aside to cool and thicken.
In a large bowl, combine the panko, flour, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and cayenne, mixing thoroughly to combine. Set aside.
In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Take each slice of fresh mozzarella and coat it in the beaten egg, then dredge it through the bread crumb mixture, pressing on both sides to adhere. Repeat with the remaining slices. Set on a plate and reserve.
Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the nectarine slices, a few at a time and sear both sides about 1 minute, until just warmed but still firm. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
Add the remaining olive oil to the skillet and, when hot, add the mozzarella, a few slices at a time, turning carefully once or twice, until the cheese is golden brown and starts to melt, about 1 minute on each side. Set on paper towels. Note: You want the cheese to retain its shape.
To assemble, place one nectarine slice on each of four plates, top with 1 slice of the fried mozzarella and a basil leaf. Repeat the layer one more time, finishing with a nectarine. Garnish with more basil and freshly grated pepper. Drizzle on the balsamic glaze.
Recipe source: Chandon