Caprese skewers are so delicious, I can’t stop eating them. They make great appetizers for dinner parties, and are also awesome party hors d’oeuvres. And frankly, they offer a healthy alternative in a season of, let’s face it, bad eating choices.
With Halloween just a handful of days away, Thanksgiving gatherings right around the corner, and holiday party season soon to start, we are assaulted with amazing things to eat that are hard to resist. But they are often full of fat and calories. Even the beautiful raw veggie trays are usually served with luscious, but high-fat dips. And really? Who wants to eat just the veggie with nothing on it? We want FLAVOR!
These caprese skewers are low fat and low calorie, yet full of savory and sweet flavor. So, if you indulge in enough of these, you’ll eat less of the other stuff and feel better about yourself. All without compromising a bit of flavor!
Let’s See What Goes into The Caprese Skewers
You’ll want to use cherry tomatoes because grape and plum tomatoes are too small, and not round enough.
And for a more dramatic presentation, you may choose a full-sized kabob skewer instead of these smaller brochettes.
Finally, much like when you cook with wine, if you reduce a balsamic vinegar, you want to use a nice quality one. No need to break the bank. I like to buy mine at Costco. Their house brand offers a very nice Italian balsamic, in my opinion, and that is what I used here.
Now Let’s Make them
You want to start by reducing the balsamic vinegar. Actually, you can do this several hours or days in advance. Give yourself plenty of time because it needs to cool completely before it can be used.
I’ll admit that if you are not used to making a balsamic reduction, you may not get it quite right the first time. It’s very easy to make, but also requires a little bit of experience because the reduction thickens significantly after it cools, so knowing when to take it off the flame can be a bit tricky. It will be thicker immediately after reducing, but still quite liquid.
Perhaps the best gauge is to let it reduce just past the halfway point.
Keep in mind that it is better to err on the side of not reducing enough. You can always add it back to the heat and reduce it further. But if you reduce it too much, it does not turn out too well if you try to add water.
After it cools completely, it should have a nice, thick, syrupy consistency. I like to pour it into a nice squeeze bottle like this one. And I suggest you use a funnel to get it there. The syrup is very dark and viscous. You don’t want to spill it on your grout, for instance.
Then all you have to do is assemble these little cuties. It’s a walk in the park. Because caprese skewers are so quick and easy, you can take the components un-assembled to wherever you are going and just slap them together when you get there.
In my opinion, they are equally good chilled or at room temperature.
Let’s See How They Look
Drizzle your balsamic reduction on the bottom of your serving dish in such a way that it looks pretty, but more importantly, so that when people pick a caprese skewer, they can drag it across the bottom of the dish and pick up some more sweet dressing.
You can drizzle more balsamic reduction over the tops of the prepared skewers as well.
So, go enjoy your holiday parties, but bring these little guys along to balance out the guilt without giving up the flavor!
- 2 cups quality balsamic vinegar
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes (about 16 - 20)
- Fresh mozzarella mini balls (16 - 20)
- Fresh basil leaves (16 - 20)
- Wood brochettes for assembly (16 - 20)
- Pour the balsamic vinegar into a sauce pan over medium-high heat and raise to a rolling boil.
- Reduce heat to medium or medium low, and stirring the bottom and sides of the pan regularly, reduce the liquid by just slightly over half. It will be somewhat thicker, but still liquid
- Allow to cool completely. Once completely cooled, it should be thick and syrupy.
- Transfer to a squeeze bottle for ease of serving.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
- Assemble the caprese skewers by folding a basil leaf in half, placing it over a tomato half and under a mozzarella ball.
- Secure with a brochette.
- Repeat until all have been assembled.
- Drizzle a serving plate with the balsamic reduction.
- Plate the caprese skewers.
- Drizzle more balsamic reduction over the skewers, if desired.