Saturday, May 5, 2012
I don't think anybody can deny that appetizers are a lot of fun to eat. They are delicious and bite-sized, which to me means a free license to pile up as many different ones as you can fit on your plate and sample each one (and then perhaps leave). But they can also be fun to make, because you can whip them up in minutes, use simple ingredients, and still impress your guests. Case in point: pile some stuff on cucumber slices like for instance salmon tartare and you are done (or just put a rolled anchovy on each one, go crazy).
Tomatoes are also great to use for appetizers. This is primarily because they can be hollowed out and stuffed with pretty much anything: salsa, shrimp salad, or ricotta tossed with some crushed garlic and salt and pepper.
This appetizer is based on insalata caprese, which is simply tomato slices, fresh mozzarella and basil. I thought, why not shake things up a bit and put mozzarella, basil and onion in the tomatoes?
To start, use large cherry tomatoes or campari tomatoes. Carefully slice the tops and reserve them. Slice a few millimeters off the bottom, so that the tomatoes can stand upright on a plate. Then with a small knife, cut out the middle without puncturing the bottom. Spoon out the seedy flesh and discard.
Finely chop fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, and red onion. (My mother-in-law recently gave us these awesome Le Creuset silicone prep bowls which I was dying to use, and finally got a chance to do so.)
Combine everything together, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and toss with salt and pepper. Stuff the tomatoes with the mix, put the tops back on top (my husband refers to them as lids) and serve.
Mozzarella Stuffed Tomato Appetizers
You will need:
15 campari or cocktail tomatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mozzarella
2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
1 1/2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
With a small knife, slice off the tomato tops and reserve. Slice a few millimeters (1/16 of an inch) off the bottom so that the tomatoes can sit flat on a plate; discard the bottoms. Carve out the seeds and the flesh and discard. In a bowl, toss together mozzarella, red onion, basil, vinegar and salt and pepper. Stuff each tomato with the mozzarella mix. Top with the tomato tops. Serve and enjoy.