It's no big deal. I know. But this little snack came as an epiphany to me when I realized it was 5 o'clock and my friends were going to come over soon. I already had the salami, red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper. All I needed was to run to the store to grab a package of basil and carton of mozzarella. I knew a common, no-cook appetizer is skewered grape tomatoes, mozzarella and basil -- but what if you swapped the tomato for salami? I wrapped some basil around a wedge of mozzarella, put a folded slice of salami on top and stuck the combination onto a toothpick. Tasty, but not quite right, that is, until I added the red wine vinegar and garlic...
Serves: 8 skewers Prep time: 20 minutes
Ingredients 2-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon minced garlic (or garlic paste) Salt and pepper, to taste 8 mozzarella balls, or 8 slices of mozzarella cut into 1/2 inch wedges 8 basil leaves 8 slices of salami 8 toothpicks or skewers
1. Whisk red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper in a bowl. Add mozzarella slices and put aside, to let the cheese marinate in the mixture, about 5-10 minutes.
2. Wrap one basil leaf around each slice of mozzarella. Put one folded slice of salami on top and push skewer or toothpick through.
3. Arrange skewers on a plate, drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil, and add a dash of freshly ground pepper.
How to fold the salami: Of course, you can fold the salami any way you prefer. I like to fold the round slice in half, then fold that in half so it somewhat resembles a triangle. I fold the point over, then fold the sides across to form a sort of square.
My Notes: Red wine vinegar vs. balsamic vinegar: The plain combination isn't bad. It's mellow, it's pure -- but it's plain. I first tried these skewers with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and garlic but it didn't taste quite right. I normally love the taste of balsamic vinegar but I found it to be overpowering in this recipe. I preferred the light tartness of red wine vinegar. It adds a rich, pungent element without drowning out the freshness of the basil and the heartiness of the salami.
Can I use a different deli meat? Certainly! I imagine this recipe would work perfectly with pepperoni. However, because mozzarella and basil are very Italian ingredients, I recommend using meats common of that culture to finish off this appetizer.