Caprese Skewers, a Summertime Appetizer


Caprese Skewers, a Summertime Appetizer


Recently at the restaurant we’ve been catering a number of events serving “finger-foods,” small appetizers and baked goods. Such events are typically receptions with light, but colorful, nibbling foods to accompany drinks. A very frequent dish right now, in addition to the inevitable mini-sandwiches, is skewered fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil kebabs based on Caprese “salad.”  That’s the Italian classic appetizer or starter course that’s usually served on a platter rather than bamboo skewers.

Caprese Skewers, a Summertime Appetizer

As I am generally the one who prepares this particular appetizer, I’ve developed a fairly simple method and refined it with practice. The fresh mozzarella is easiest to work with if it’s the small balls called “ciliegine,” meaning “cherries.” But blocks can be cut into half-inch cubes, as well. And small “grape” tomatoes are easiest too. But sometimes they are large enough to need cutting in half. Short (4-5-inch) bamboo skewers work well, and do not need soaking before using.


For the basil I generally mince up fresh leaves very finely on a cutting board and mix them with a little salt, pepper and olive oil for marinating the mozzarella. Depending on the amount of basil, the specks on the mozzarella will be lighter or greener, but the basil flavor penetrates the mozzarella, even if the surface doesn’t look really green. I used to use small pieces of basil leaf skewered between the tomato and cheese, but I think the basil-marinated cheese works best.


Several of our recent catering customers, when returning the platters, have told me how much the guests liked our Caprese skewers.


Here’s a recipe based on 8-ounces of fresh mozzarella, that will make enough appetizer skewers for 6-8 people. For bigger groups, multiply the recipe. Allow 2 skewers, or more, for each diner. The skewers can be assembled up to several hours before they’re served. Store them refrigerated and covered with plastic wrap until needed.


10-12 fresh basil leaves, medium-large

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

8 ounces  “cherry” sized (“ciliegne”) fresh mozzarella balls, or 8 ounces of a block

8 ounces small grape tomatoes

4-5 inch bamboo skewers


On a cutting board and using a large knife, very finely mince the basil leaves. Transfer to a bowl and add the salt, pepper and olive oil. Drain the mozzarella balls or cut the block or log into 1/2-inch pieces. Mix these carefully into the basil mix to coat well.


Rinse the tomatoes. If small (grape-sized), use whole. If they’re longer, cut them in half, Thread about three pieces of mozzarella alternating with two pieces of tomato.. Arrange the skewers on a serving platter. Cover with plastic wrap and store refrigerated until served. 

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