Feb 16, 2009

Recipe: Piccolo Caprese picks with quick basil aioli

By: Kathy Casey

Recipe: Piccolo Caprese picks with quick basil aioli Author: Style At Home

Feb 16, 2009

Recipe: Piccolo Caprese picks with quick basil aioli

By: Kathy Casey
Be sure to purchase ciliegine mozzarella balls -- these are the tiny cherry-sized ones.

  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup high-quality mayonnaise, such as Best Foods or Hellmann’s
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 24 cherry tomatoes (about 1 pint)
  • 24 ciliegine mozzarella balls (these are the tiny 1/3-ounce balls), drained well
  • 24 small fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 short bamboo or other fun picks

1 To make the aioli: In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, and basil. Whisk in the mayonnaise until smooth. Gradually drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly, until emulsified. Cover and refrigerate until needed. The aioli can be made up to 3 days in advance.

2 To assemble the caprese: With a paring knife, halve each cherry tomato horizontally, being careful to keep the halves together. Then thread onto a pick in this order: a tomato top, a basil leaf, a mozzarella ball, and the tomato bottom. Be sure the cut sides of the tomato face toward the cheese. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Place on a platter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve with the aioli in a bowl for dipping or drizzling.

Makes 24 pieces
With the proliferation of olive bars, you can "mix it up" with your olives for this recipe. These will keep for up to two weeks, so make plenty!

  • 3 cups assorted olives, such as Greek olive mix (about 1 pound drained weight)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, broken in half
  • Zest of 1/2 orange, removed in big pieces with a potato peeler
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all the ingredients in a nonreactive bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours so that flavors will marry before serving.

Makes about 3 cups

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Excerpted from Sips and Apps by Kathy Casey. Copyright 2009 by Chronicle Books. Excerpted with permission by Chronicle Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Recipe: Piccolo Caprese picks with quick basil aioli