Rather than serving the traditional Caprese salad, try this fun variation that substitutes sweet strawberries for the tomatoes. These quick and easy Strawberry Caprese Skewers are sure to be a hit at your next party.
You’ve probably never thought of pairing strawberries with cheese or balsamic before. It sounds like an odd pairing, but in reality strawberries pair beautifully with the rich balsamic glaze and fresh basil.
I was invited to a summer strawberry party once at a friend’s house. Everyone had to bring a sweet or savory dish that used strawberry. I was amazed at all the great dishes that came out of that party. I had no idea strawberry worked so well in savory dishes.
The reason cherry tomatoes go so well with mozzarella cheese is because they are sweet and acidic. Well, strawberries have those same properties. So it’s not a coincidence that they pair so well with the ingredients of these Caprese skewers.
These tiny mozzarella balls are easy to find in the grocery. Buying them in this size keeps you from having to cut the mozzarella into bite-size pieces to put on the skewers. It saves a lot of time.
Also be sure to pick up a packet of 6-inch wooden skewers. I like the bamboo ones without an end on them, like these.
When threading the skewers, make sure you don’t crowd the ingredients together. They look better with a little space between. It will also keep the basil looking fresh. The juices from the strawberries can quickly oxidate the leaves and make them look brown and wilted.
The balsamic glaze for this recipe can be purchased to save time. It’s a thicker consistency than regular balsamic. If you’re making it yourself, you’ll need to cook down balsamic vinegar by about 1/3 to get the right consistence.
I prefer to use certified balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy, like the one pictured above. It has a better taste than lower-quality substitutes.
These little skewers make the perfect appetizer at a party and your guests will be very impressed with the strawberries. Eaten together, these skewers are the perfect combination of sweet and acidic.
Of course you could also serve the original Caprese skewers alongside the strawberry version. If you’re taking the time to make them, it’s just as easy to add tomatoes and strawberries.
Find the ripest tomatoes available for this appetizer. It makes a difference if they are fresh from the garden, versus sitting in a refrigerator for a few days before being served. You can also use yellow tomatoes for an added pop of color.
The farmers market is always the best place to find the ripest and tastiest strawberries and tomatoes. Get there early to have your pick of the best produce. You can even taste one before you buy to be sure they’re perfect for your appetizers.
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Strawberry Caprese Skewers with Balsamic Glaze
- 16 small strawberries washed and cut in half across the width, hull intact
- 32 medium fresh basil leaves washed and patted dry
- 16 mini Ciliegine mini-Mozzarella balls
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp high-quality extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle, if desired
- Thread the top half of one strawberry onto a wooden skewer with the hull facing up. Fold a basil leaf in half and add it to the skewer. Add one mini-Mozzarella ball, followed by another folded basil leaf, and the bottom half of the strawberry.
- Repeat Step 1 with the remaining ingredients. Arrange on a serving platter.
- If using prepared balsamic glaze, pour lightly over the skewers creating 2 thin lines across each skewer. Top with a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.
- To make the glaze yourself, add balsamic vinegar to a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vinegar is reduced to about 1/3 of its original volume.
- Remove glaze from heat and let cool. Drizzle over the skewers, along with some extra virgin olive oil, if desired. Serve immediately.