I’ve been dreaming of these fresh bites of deliciousness ever since my husband and I attended a work dinner party a few weeks ago and these were part of the appetizer spread. So simple and yet I couldn’t stop eating them! I even passed up the stuffed mushrooms and other elegant appetizers to go straight for these babies.
The combination of creamy, fresh mozzarella, aromatic basil and sweet cherry tomatoes – all drizzled with a hint of balsamic vinegar – is astoundingly refreshing and tasty. I have officially decided that this trinity of caprese ingredients is among my favorite flavor combinations ever.
You might think I’m crazy for introducing such a fantastic appetizer like this in the middle of winter, since the majority of us have a hard time finding fresh produce that is edible enough to warrant the inflated cost. In my defense, I have a grocery store in my area that carries large bins of fresh basil year round (for surprisingly cheap) and the cherry tomatoes were shockingly tasty despite it being mid-winter. If you don’t have the same kind of luck, save the recipe for summer when the combination of caprese ingredients will be even more fresh and delicious.
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Note: fresh mozzarella is the kind that is packed in a watery solution to keep it moist. You can easily sub marinated mozzarella balls for the fresh mozzarella, slicing them in half or using a whole ball for each skewer. Also, this is a very “loose” recipe so change the quantities as needed. You can use regular toothpicks but if at all possible look for the longer, decorative skewers (a couple centimeters longer than toothpicks) in the paper plate/picnic aisle.
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, red or yellow
- 1 bunch basil leaves (about 18-30 leaves, the big ones can be cut in half)
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
- Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
- 2-3 dozen long toothpicks/skewers
- Slice the cherry tomatoes in half so you end up with two half-basketball pieces. Slice the mozzarella into bite-sized chunks. Slide a piece of mozzarella onto the toothpick. Fold a basil leaf in half or thirds and nestle it up next to the mozzarella (large leaves can be cut into halves or even thirds). Slide a tomato onto the bottom of the skewer, cut side down. Move the mozzarella and basil down to meet the tomato if needed. You want the flat side of the tomato to be right at the end of the toothpick so it stands up straight.
- Place all the finished skewers on a paper plate or tray. Drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar and transfer to a platter to serve.
Recipe Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe