Mozzarella Caprese salads are becoming a staple in the U.S. The fresh-tasting tomato and cheese combination, whose name literally means “in the style of Capri”, is not just for Italians. In warmer weather, when tomatoes are at their peak, is the best time to capitalize on their intense flavor. Paired with fresh mozzarella and the simple addition of a few ingredients you probably already have in your pantry; the humble tomato is elevated to gourmet status.
If you have a garden at the ready, you’re in luck, as the fresher the ingredients, the better your dish will be. If you don’t have basil and tomatoes by your doorstep, hit the Beaver Farmer’s Market or your local store with a produce section and select the highest-quality ingredients you can find. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but you do need to focus on freshness. The best Caprese salads taste like the season.
This appetizer version of the Caprese salad is just as high in flavor as the traditional dish, but in a compact one-bite size, making it perfect to serve for parties and cookouts. Present a tray of these colorful skewers at your next barbecue for a no-fuss starter that doesn’t require any cooking.
TIP: Use the best olive oil and balsamic vinegar you have available. Just a little goes a long way.
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella balls
- 8 oz. cherry or grape tomatoes
- Fresh basil leaves, about a handful, washed n 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- 1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
- Salt and fresh ground pepper
- Small wooden skewers
Thread each skewer with one ball of mozzarella, one whole basil leaf, and one tomato. If using larger balls of mozzarella, you may want to cut them into quarters first. Use a 1⁄2 teaspoon to drizzle each appetizer with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and fresh black pepper to taste. Makes about two dozen appetizers.
- Wrap the mozzarella ball with basil before skewering it for a pretty presentation. n Use longer skewers and thread two or three of each ingredient for a dinner party
appetizer or salad course.
- Substitute an infused olive oil, such as garlic, lemon, or herb, for a unique flavor. n Add cubed salami, olives, and/or pepperoncini for a mini antipasto.