Friday, 24 May 2013

Fabulous Friday: Cocktail Hour Nibbles

Mini Caprese Salad

 Rachel, Dublin 

These mini skewers of caprese salad are one of my favourite canapés to make. They look impressive, so you'll get kudos for having gone to lots of effort, and they're a vibrant flavour combination which suits the (supposedly) summer months we're approaching. However, they're super-quick to make (I put these together in 10 minutes), cheap, and suitable even for those who detest fussing with fiddly details in the kitchen. 

The only fiddly part really is getting them to stand up.  If you can't be bothered with that then they would still look impressive arranged lying down on a plate, perhaps with some more pesto drizzled on top.  While you could skip the step of coating the mozarella in pesto I think it really adds to the overall flavour and helps round out the basil flavour as the leaves can taste a little metallic on their own. This is also why I specify to use medium sized leaves for the skewers below. I find that most of the basil plants and packets available in the shops now have monster sized leaves which would completely over power the other flavours for these skewers. Finally, while you can make these a little in advance (about an hour) the basil leaves will start to discolour around the skewer if prepared too far ahead.

mini caprese salad (makes 12)

1 ball of mozarella, drained and cut into chunks
1 tsp basil pesto
12 cherry tomatoes
12 medium sized basil leaves
mini bamboo skewers/cocktail sticks

Mix your mozarella chunks with the pesto. Taking a basil leaf, spoon one piece of mozarella into the centre of the leaf and spear it with a skewer so that it pierces the leaf, the mozarella, and comes back through the leaf again.  Place the cherry tomato on a board so that the place where the stem attached is face down, they should be more stable this way. Push the cheese and basil skewer into the tomato, you may need to take it out and re-adjust the angle so that it will stand up.  Arrange the skewers standing up on a serving platter - just make sure you don't need to transport it too far once you do!    

We scoffed these with a simple vodka/gin and tonic, they also go really well with a cold glass of white wine.

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