Caprese salad is a simple Italian salad, made of sliced fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, seasoned with salt, and olive oil. It was made to resemble the colors of the Italian flag: red, white, and green. A clever Italian Flag-Shaped Caprese Salad was featured in past post. Since the salad is a specialty of the Island of Capri and the province of Calabria in southern Italy (which includes Naples) it is especially fitting for feast days of the saints associated with that region. This week we celebrate San Gennaro (St. Januarius), the patron of Naples (September 19). Two recent August saints, St. Alphonsus Liguori and St. Philomena, are associated with the region as well. And then there is St. Pio of Pietrelcina next week who is not from the region, but is Italian, and this can definitely be for any Italian saint as well.
I came across this variation of the salad as an appetizer and with sun-dried tomatoes which I love, so decided to give it a try. They were quite delicious and make a fun feast day savory treat. Ideally, this would be made with the true mozzarella di bufala, a specialty of the Naples region.
Mini Caprese Inspired Appetizers
INGREDIENTS:4 oz. fresh mozzarella ball, diced small
3 tablespoons oil-packed, sundried tomatoes, patted dry and diced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, thinly chopped
1½ tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
30 Phyllo Shells
Flake sea salt, to garnish
In mixing bowl, combine mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes,vinegar and oil.
Mix thoroughly. Fill mini shells with one heaping teaspoon of mixture. Garnish
with chopped basil and flake sea salt. Serve.
You can buy the phyllo shells ready made (Ex: Athens Mini Fillo Shells) or make your own from phyllo dough. I adapted mine from this tutorial - cut them round instead of square.