Mini Caprese

A good caprese salad is among my favorite gastronomical pleasures.  Tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil.  It’s the perfect combination.  Are the Italians brilliant, or what?

The answer is: yes.  Yes, they are.

I’m all for the usual layering approach to the caprese.  Thick slices of tomato with equally thick slices of cheese, striped with basil, arranged in an artful row, or circle, or just a heap on the plate.  I’m not picky.

But recently I found some perfectly plump little cherry tomatoes in the grocery store.  It’s finally tomato season–the winter is long, and tomatoes taste more or less like cardboard throughout.  I had high hopes that these cherry tomatoes would be tasty little buggers.  Indeed, they were.

Being a huge fan of bite-sized foods, I decided to turn my red gems into mini caprese salads.  I got little bocconcini mozzarella, cut a bunch of basil from my herb garden, and set to work creating poppable little bite-sized salads.  They were perfect.

When the cherry tomatoes ripen in my garden, I’ll be making these again.  And again.  And again.

Hello, little darlings.  Mini Caprese ready for full-sized enjoyment.

Hello, little darlings. Mini Caprese ready for full-sized enjoyment.

This isn’t so much a recipe as a rather self-explanatory photo.  I took the stem end off of the little tomatoes, stuffed them with half of a ball of mozzarella, sprinkled basil confetti over the whole thing, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, sprinkled with a bit of salt.

Then I ate them.  All of them.  My husband hates tomatoes, so I didn’t have to share.

Caprese, for the tomato hater.

Caprese, for the tomato hater.

Not wanting my husband to feel totally left out, I made him his own version of the mini caprese.  I used roasted red peppers to make little blankets for the cheese and basil.  Also delicious.  He ate them.  All of them.

I’d say these would be good appetizer fodder for a dinner party or other festive gathering, but then we would have to share.  I’m not sure we can handle that.

Happy bite-sized eating!

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