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ciliegie mozzarella with basil & cherry tomatoes

Makes 12 hors d’oeuvres

Ciliegie means “cherries” in Italian – because the mozzarella is formed into cherry-size balls. I like that it also refers to the cherry tomatoes in the recipe. This bite-sized hors-d’oeuvre is inspired by a wonderful summer salad the Italians call insalata caprese (a salad of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil).

  • 6 cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, cut into halves
  • 6 ciliegie mozzarella balls, cut into halves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (optional)

Spear one half of one cherry tomato on a toothpick. Next, spear two halves of a fresh basil leaf, followed by one half of a mozzarella ball. Repeat for all 12 hors d’oeuvres, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on a tray and serve with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil (I like to offer them separately) on the side for dipping. Add the minced garlic to the olive oil for an extra layer of flavor.

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