Want an easy, colorful, summery, fancy-schmancy looking appetizer to serve guests? These little fellas fit the bill, the bright crunch of juicy tomato mingling with sweet basil and fresh mozzarella, all drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette.
There. The food porn description is out of the way.
We threw a surprise party for Mom Saturday. As I apparently noted several times near the end of the night, it was a smashing success. Why several times? Seems I got drunk off my ass by the end. As planned. It wasn’t an accident ffs.
Look at that awesome cake Stacy’s mom made for the surprise party
People kept asking ahead of time how surprisey it was going to be. I briefly wondered at the wisdom of shocking someone with a history of heart problems, and laconically waved those concerns aside. “Not much, I think,” I told them. “We’re doing family pictures right before the party, and we expect people will begin showing up and we’ll be setting up right in front of her.”
Thanks to the big ass house, though, we were able to pull off a complete surprise. While the final pictures were being shot in the living room, Jennifer and I rushed off to the family room to get tables and chairs out and set out the cake. By the time we led Mom to the family room, most of the partygoers had arrived, and wound up giving her a proper “Surprise!” shout.
Oh, my point? One of the things I made was caprese skewers. I also made corn and crab dip. Crap. It’s gone. I didn’t get pics of it. Oh well, caprese skewers will do for now.
P.S. two to three of these is a 100-calorie snack. Believe me, you won’t have a chance to get your hands on more. Go for three. The calorie listing includes all of the balsamic vinaigrette, and I only wound up using about half of it.
These appetizers may be served up to 3 hours after assembling. Do not refrigerate after putting them together. Simply cover with plastic wrap on their serving plate until it’s time to serve. Adapted from Cocktail Food: 50 Finger Foods with Attitude, by Mary Corpening Barber and Sara Corpening Whiteford.
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces fresh mozzarella
24 grape tomatoes
24 small to medium leaves of fresh basil
24 toothpicks or 5-inch bamboo skewers
Soak toothpicks or skewers in water. This will keep them from splintering when assembling the skewers.
Cut the mozzarella into 24 1/2-inch cubes. In a small bowl, toss with the 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Set aside to allow the mozzarella to absorb the flavors.
In another small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and the kosher salt. This is the vinaigrette you’ll be brushing on the skewers, once assembled. If you’re using regular salt, begin with a little less, say, a pinch, and work up from there. I found that the fresh mozzarella I bought was already well-salted, so it didn’t need much more.
Time to put caprese skewers together!
1. Slide 1 grape tomato onto a toothpick or skewer.
2. Fold 1 basil leaf in half; pierce with skewer and slide up to the tomato.
3. Poke 1 mozzarella cube onto the skewer.
4. Repeat 23 more times.
Lay out the assembled skewers on a nice plate. It helps to lean them against one another at a 30 degree angle or so — makes it easier for people to grab them. Once laid out, brush them with the balsamic vinaigrette, and serve.
Variations: Try them without the balsamic vinaigrette. The vinaigrette adds a lot of “pop” to the skewers, but I kind of like the homey taste of tomato/basil/mozzarella/oil/pepper all on its own too. It depends on the tastes of your guests, or what you’re serving, I suppose.
Nutrition information per serving: 43 calories; 1.9g fat; 3mg cholesterol; 43mg sodium; 5g carbohydrate; 1.5g fiber; 3.3g sugars; 2.3g protein; 22% vitamin A; 26% vitamin C; 5% calcium; 2% iron