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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Caprese Skewers

Insalata Caprese is my favorite Italian dish. The most basic iteration is buffalo mozzarella, fresh sliced tomatoes, and basil leaves sprinkled in salt and olive oil. My favorite variation is the caprese with balsamic vinegar. As a kid, I was nuts for the stuff and time has done nothing to curb my enthusiasm for it. I am dangerous around a dish of balsamic and some nice bread for dipping.

Recently on Pinterest, I've been seeing caprese redone as a finger food, by using whole cherry tomatoes and ciliegine mozzarella (smaller than bocconcini) threaded on skewers with basil. Needless to say, I had to try this recipe the next time I threw a party.

I could chug this stuff
Most variations of the caprese skewers seem to forgo the balsamic vinegar, probably because for finger food it is messy and has the potential to stain things if it drips. Despite this, I will not forgo balsamic vinegar. My solution? A balsamic reduction or glaze that is thicker and more concentrated so it's less likely to drip.

You can make your own reduction, or cheat like I did and purchase it ready-made. I even went so far as to get mozzarella that was already marinated, but you can also marinate your own if you can't find them already in olive oil. You may think I'm lazy (that would be a totally sound assumption, by the way) but I like to have party bites that are fast and easy to make so I can focus on the main dishes, or just having fun. This is a ridiculously easy recipe.

This party was a very relaxed affair at my apartment, with one of my friends visiting from Tennessee. In fact, it was the first party I've ever had in my apartment and I've been there almost 2 years! It's such a small place and it was devoid of furniture for such a long time, but I hope to have more parties in the future. I am amazed though, I totally forgot to take pictures besides the food.

Awaiting the glaze
As luck would have it, as soon as I threw the party I got a bad summer cold and these recipes have been languishing on my camera for weeks.

Caprese Skewers

cherry tomatoes
basil leaves
marinated ciliegine or baby bocconcini mozzarella*
balsamic glaze**

Simply skewer the tomatoes, and let the mozzarella balls drain slightly before skewering. Alternate skewering between tomato, basil, and mozzarella until the desire amount on each skewer has been reached. If the basil leaves are large, fold them in half before skewering or rip them in half. Place on your serving dish and drizzle generously with the balsamic glaze.

*If you can't find pre-marinated mozzarella, place the cheese balls over night in a 1/4 cup of olive oil mixed with a couple pinches of red pepper, black pepper, and salt.

**If you can't find premade balsamic glaze, reduce a cup of balsamic vinegar by heating on the stove top by bringing the vinegar to a boil over medium heat and then lowering the heat to keep it at a simmer until balsamic vinegar has reduced to a syrup. Let cool before drizzling.

See Also:
Nasu Dengaku
Strawberry Bing Tanghulu
Smoked Salmon Crostini


  1. Yum. I love Caprese salads. I'm going to have to try this for our next party.

  2. I love caprese too! They are so easy to put together. Your skewers look great and easy to eat. Have a wonderful weekend!