Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Caprese Skewers

Summer evokes all kinds of season specific food cravings for me; from anything on the grill to icy-cold drinks by the pool.  BLT’s, fruit salads, ice cream, and corn on the cob all come to mind as well.  But the food I look forward to most in summer?  A classic Caprese salad.  Traditional 'Insalata Caprese' is nothing more than fresh basil, creamy buffalo mozzarella, and the key component you can only get in summer – great tomatoes.  Purist will season with salt, pepper and olive oil and you are set, but I love the almost as classic variation of the addition of an exceptional Modena balsamic vinegar.

Here is a simple departure on the classic – why not make it into an appetizer?

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, washed and stems removed
  • 1 pound bocconcini (fresh mozzarella in small balls), drained
  • fresh basil, leaves only
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt & freshly cracked pepper
  • PastamorĂ© Barrel-Aged Balsamic Vinegar

Using small skewers (or larger ones cut in half with kitchen shears) start with a cherry tomato, followed by a bocconcini, a basil leaf folded over, another bocconcini, and finally a cherry tomato.  Arrange on serving plate and drizzle well with extra virgin olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and finally a smaller  drizzle of the Barrel-Aged Balsamic Vinegar.

These can be refrigerated for several hours, but do the seasoning & drizzling just before serving.

Alternatively, if you grocery store offers marinated bocconcini (usually in olive oil, salt & pepper) use these instead, or marinate them yourself for up to 24 hours.

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