One thing I’ve learned about appetizers is that folks typically pluck them from a platter and plop them directly into their mouths, sometimes without an interim stop on a little plate. Designed to be consumed in one delectable mouthful, these Fun Bites are a giant step beyond caprese skewers.
- thin slices of really good dry salami
- cherry tomatoes or cherub tomatoes
- basil leaves
- colored peppers to grill
- fresh mozzarella cheese
- Essential vinaigrette
You also need toothpicks. Some folks make big skewers of things for parties. I think that’s impractical. Your guests want to graze. Little bit of this, little bit of that. It’s practically a party food rule! (And it’s kind of like the old saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”) So, I like to make them small, on toothpicks. Each one is a fun little bite.
Step one is always to assemble your ingredients. Make sure you have everything you need. Fire up the grill — whether it’s outside, on your stove, or made by a certain former boxer. (Or, you can cheat and buy a jar of roasted red peppers. No, you don’t have to go to confession if you do.)
If you are roasting your own peppers, rub a little olive oil on first. I used the small sweet variety. Pretty colors. Roast them until they char a bit, and while they’re roasting, get busy. Pick off your basil leaves, cut your little tomatoes into slices. Chunk your cheese. Once the peppers are done, put them into a plastic bag and sweat the skins until they’re loose. It kind of looks like you’re suffocating them, but you don’t need to feel like a serial killer. This is what they’re made for. Slough off the skins after the peppers have had a chance to sweat and cut the aromatic darlings into small squares. Assemble the various components in the order you choose. Roll the salami or fold it into quarters.
Don’t forget to drizzle with Essential Vinaigrette — then transfer onto your platter for serving. Better have a back-up stash. Your platter is going to look awfully lonely in just a few moments!
That’s a pincushion protea (a tropical flower) cut flush and sitting on a few large basil leaves in the center of the platter. Lovely, don’t you think?