A new recurring event that I am participating in is a Farmer’s Market Virtual Supper with a group of food bloggers in the San Francisco Bay Area. We divided up into two groups, each creating a meal that you can make for your friends and family.
The members of each group are assigned a course, we choose what we will make and share it with you and each participant’s readers. This virtual supper menu can be made with ingredients found at our local farmer’s market. It is fun to stretch our own culinary creativity and see what our friends come up with!
This month I was assigned the appetizer course. There are so many tempting things in the market that it was hard to pick just one to share with you. With all the beautiful tomatoes showing up, I couldn’t resist showcasing them for this supper. There is no better way to let them shine than combining them with fresh basil and mozzarella cheese. Simple, fresh, and delicious, it is my favorite flavor combination.
Traditional Caprese salad is usually served with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella sliced and studded with basils leaves and drizzled with a light vinaigrette. To make this easier to serve for a buffet, I decided to turn the ingredients into skewers that are really fun to eat and simple to manage if you are having a party where people will be eating off plates on their laps.
While the typical salad is drizzled with vinaigrette, which would be challenging with skewers, so I decided to lightly marinate the ingredients instead. A few minutes soaking in the vinaigrette will add tremendous flavor to the mozzarella and tomatoes. I used a dressing made with balsamic vinegar that added a yellow color to the mozzarella. If you want to keep them whiter, use lemon juice or light vinegar instead of the balsamic.
The skewers I used are called “picks” and are about 5-inches long. They make any foods more festive! You can use a simpler version with a twisted top if you prefer. If you can’t find the fancy ones, regular bamboo skewers will work just fine.
All the farmers’ markets will have tomatoes and basil this time of the year, but if yours does not have a cheese vendor, you can buy the bocconcini at your local grocer. Bocconcini are miniature fresh mozzarella balls. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s usually keep them in stock. If you can only find the large balls of fresh mozzarella, you can cut those into small bite-sized pieces and use those in place of the bocconcini.
This is one of the simplest appetizers to put together, and one that all your guests will love. While tomatoes are at the peak of their season in the heat of summer, make these skewers for your barbecues, dinner parties, or family reunions. They make a stunning addition to a buffet table or being passed at the table. And if you have children at the party, they will love how everything is just their size!
Make sure you check out all the recipes from the other members of the team for a beautiful full summer supper menu!
Members of this Farmer’s Market Virtual Supper group and their shared recipes:
Mozzarella & Tomato Caprese Skewers by Jane Bonacci, The Heritage Cook
Warm Green Bean and Tomato Salad by Renee Chatham, Creative Mama, Messy House
Loaded Mashed Cauliflower by Marlene Baird, Nosh My Way
Roast Pork Tenderlion with Mushroom Marsala Sauce and Roasted Potatoes by DB, Crazy Foodie Stunts
Vanilla Bean Infused Cheesecake with Peaches in Dark Rum Sauce by Sandi Gaertner, Fearless Dining
The second group has also posted. Here are their beautiful recipes for another delightful Farmer’s Market Supper!
Salad: Blistered Tomato, Corn, and Arugula Salad by OMG! Yummy
Entree: Eggplant Pesto Parmesan Casserole by The Wimpy Vegetarian
Side Dish: Summertime Vegetarian Stir-Fry by Peanut Butter and Peppers
Dessert: Striped Heirloom Tomato Spice Cake by ZeBot’s Kitchen
Dessert: Peachy Keen Ice Cream Sandwiches by Fork and Swoon
This dish is naturally gluten-free, but as always check the labels or ask the merchant to be sure there aren’t any hidden gluten ingredients in anything.
Mozzarella & Tomato Caprese Skewers (Gluten-Free)
© 2014 Jane Bonacci, The Heritage Cook. All rights reserved.
Yield: 8 servings, 2 skewers each
32 ripe cherry tomatoes, rinsed
32 fresh Bocconcini (small mozzarella balls in water), rinsed
Italian salad dressing or vinaigrette, preferably homemade
Fresh small basil leaves, rinsed and patted dry (or large leaves cut into smaller pieces)
16 appetizer skewers
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Each skewer will have two cherry tomatoes and two Bocconcini, separated by fresh basil leaves. Place the tomatoes and cheese in a resealable plastic bag. Add just enough dressing to coat the ingredients. Seal the bag and set in the refrigerator to marinate for about 15 minutes.
Remove the tomatoes and cheese from the marinade; reserve marinade to use at the table if desired. Start the skewers with a tomato, then a basil leaf and a Bocconcini and another basil leaf. Repeat the pattern once more. Each skewer will have two tomatoes and two Bocconcini with basil leaves between them. If you are using shorter skewers, put one set on each one and make twice as many skewers. Continue until all skewers are completed. Sprinkle each skewer lightly with salt and pepper.
Stand the skewers upright in a couple of glasses or deep bowls on the buffet for people to serve themselves, or serve two (or four) skewers per person. Place additional vinaigrette in a small pitcher and let people drizzle extra on their skewers if they want. Serve within 20 minutes of assembling or refrigerate. If you refrigerate them, the basil will most likely start to turn brown. It is best to make these right before serving.
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