Summer is the time for picnics and potlucks. Taking advantage of the good weather, my Toastmasters club
recently had an outdoor meeting in a park. We made it a potluck - because any gathering is better with food! Since we meet on a weekday, I had to think of something that was quick and easy to make. Typically I bake desserts for potlucks but I didn’t quite have the time for that, so I changed things up this time and brought a Caprese salad. Salad isn’t really finger food unless you put it on a stick! To make it easy to pick up and eat without utensils, I used a toothpick to hold the tomatoes and cheese. Not only is this bite sized snack easy to make, it is also summery with bright colors and juicy tomatoes, and the salad on a stick makes for a fun presentation.
~40 red cherry tomatoes (I used 20 red grape tomatoes cut in half)
~40 yellow cherry tomatoes
8oz fresh mozzarella balls (the ones that are stored in water in a small container). If you can find the tiny ones, those would be perfect, but I halved the larger ones and it worked just fine
⅛-¼ cup olive oil
2-3 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp chopped basil leaves (fresh works best!)
A pinch of salt
~1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Drain the mozzarella balls. Cut them in half if using the larger ones like I did. There were about 20 in the container, so I got 40 halves. Add the mozzarella balls to the marinade, coat evenly and let it rest for about half hour (or longer).
In the meantime, cut the red grape tomatoes in half breadthwise (not end-to-end). If using cherry tomatoes skip this step because they’re small enough.
To assemble, insert a toothpick through a red tomato (or half if using grape tomato), followed by a piece of marinated mozzarella cheese (gently squeeze out excess oil if needed), and then a yellow tomato. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Arrange on a plate and serve sprinkled with additional chopped basil leaves. You can also drizzle a balsamic reduction for extra tangy and sweet flavor. To make the reduction, heat ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar with a small pinch of sugar over low-medium heat until reduced to half. If it gets too thick, mix in some water or some of the marinade. Let it cool before drizzling on the tomatoes.
Note: Leftover marinade can be used as a salad dressing.
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