San Diego Union-Tribune
Watermelon Mozzarella Basil Bites With Balsamic Glaze
I use Ciliegine fresh mozzarella from Trader Joe’s, but most major grocers should carry it. Ciliegine (chee-lay-genie) translates to “small cherry” and is the perfect size for one-bite appetizers. You can use regular balsamic vinegar, but the glaze is even better. Find it at well-stocked markets or make your own. See the note at the end of the recipe on how to do it. For more assertive herbaceousness, try mint leaves in place of basil.
Makes about 6 servings
18 one-inch cubes watermelon 1 (8-ounce) container Ciliegine fresh mozzarella balls 18 small basil leaves 18 cocktail skewers
⁄4 cup balsamic glaze
(see note) Extra-virgin olive oil, optional for finishing Sea salt, optional, for finishing
Stack the watermelon, basil and cheese so that the watermelon is on the bottom. Carefully pierce the cheese with the cocktail skewer and continue guiding it through the basil leaf to the watermelon. Place on a serving tray. Repeat with remaining cheese, basil and watermelon. Drizzle the balsamic glaze over the skewered watermelon cheese bites, allowing excess to land on the serving tray (to make it easier to drizzle, microwave the glaze for 5 to 8 seconds). Carefully cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve. When your guests arrive, remove them from the refrigerator and allow them to sit for 10 minutes before serving. Optionally, drizzle the stacks with a good quality extravirgin olive oil and a light sprinkling of sea salt.
Note: To make balsamic glaze, bring 1 cup of balsamic vinegar to a rolling boil over high heat. Lower heat and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring every 30 to 45 seconds. Reduce by half for a slightly runnier glaze or up to two-thirds for a thick, rich glaze. Once you reach your desired consistency, remove from heat and cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.