05 July, 2015

Mel's Caprese Skewers

Quick, easy, delicious. Sandwich a folded fresh basil leaf between halved grape tomato (the bottom) and a square or ball of fresh mozzarella (the top) on a pick. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar vinegar, according to personal preference.


Mel's Caprese Skewers with balsamic vinegar drizzle

Mel's Caprese Skewers ingredients (4)
Makes about 280 pieces
For the skewers
2-lbs grape tomatoes
2 (1-lb) pkgs fresh mozzarella cheese
About 3 (0.66-oz / 18g) pkgs fresh organic basil leaves (look for freshest, largest leaves)


For serving
24 dozen bamboo skewers or wood picks
Balsamic vinegar


Mel's Caprese Skewers Directions
Getting ready
Wash and thoroughly dry the tomatoes; refrigerate.

Wash and thoroughly dry basil stems.

Before slicing tomatoes, line 2-Qt covered casserole with two layers of flattened coffee filters; set dish aside. Using the coffee filters to absorb some liquid draining from the sliced grape tomatoes is very helpful maintaining freshness and texture when preparing Mel's Caprese Skewers in advance.


Draining sliced grape tomatoes on coffee filters


Seeds left by draining grape tomatoes

Slice and drain tomatoes
Slice each grape tomato in half horizontally; cover bottom of prepared casserole dish with the tomato halves, cut-side down. When you finish the first layer, cover it with two more layers of coffee filters and cut tomatoes; continue adding more layers as needed.

Cover tightly and refrigerate.


Prepare cheese
Cut each slice of fresh mozzarella in half lengthwise. Then, depending upon the size of the grape tomatoes, vertically slice the mozzarella halves into four or five equal-size pieces each.

If not assembling Mel's Caprese Skewers immediately, place mozzarella pieces in a covered container and refrigerate.


Mel's Caprese Skewer before balsamic vinegar drizzle

Assemble skewers
Using largest leaves first, tear fresh, clean, and dry basil leaves into strips about twice the length of the mozzarella pieces. Remove basil stems as you go, and avoid any browned areas.

Fold basil strip in half and insert pick through its middle; if using small basil leaves, place two on the pick. Then, insert pick into the rounded, uncut end of a grape tomato halve, without piercing the flat, cut end. This way, the tomato will rest flat on a serving tray and the pick will stand upright (vertically straight).  

Gently slide basil down the pick until it is resting on top of the grape tomato.

Gently center mozzarella piece on the pick, on top of the basil; nestle together.

Set aside in coffee filter-lined covered container until ready to serve. (See Notes below.)


Serve
About twenty to thirty (20 - 30) minutes before serving, drizzle balsamic vinegar over the mozzarella tops.

Tray Mel's Caprese Skewers and serve. (See Notes below.)





Mel's Caprese Skewers Notes

  • If you are preparing a large quantity, I find it helpful to prepare the ingredients and then compose each piece, assembly-line fashion. Also, some in my family prefer this appetizer without the balsamic vinegar; typically, I drizzle only half of Mel's Caprese Skewers with balsamic vinegar.  

  • I have success assembling this appetizer twenty-four (24) hours in advance when I wait until serving time to add the balsamic vinegar; I use double layers of coffee filters on the bottom, cover the container tightly, and refrigerate flat to keep the picks upright. Once, I stacked two layers of skewers, with coffee filters in between; however, I think it was only beginner's luck that the bottom layer survived so well. Therefore, after assembly, I think it is better to have single layers of snugly-packed Mel's Caprese Skewers, rather than multiple layers stored in the refrigerator.  

  • As is true with other cheese, I think the flavor of this appetizer is better when it is served with the mozzarella at room temperature.

  • I use pre-sliced mozzarella cheese (photo below) for a neat appearance and as a convenience to save some time.


Often available at Costco



Index
Appetizers and Snacks  > Finger foods 
Christmas Eve
Italian-style
July 4
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Page last modified 3 January 2016

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