Monday, October 15, 2007

Italian Grilled Mozzarella Skewers with Pesto

I went to a cooking class a few weeks ago. The subject was tapas, which is always fun. These, however, were all grilled tapas; perfect for the end of summer. The instructor, Tarla Fallgatter, had just returned from a trip to Japan, so she decided to create one Asian style tapas, which she said she ate in several places there. I guess the tapas idea is spreading 'round the world. Somehow, Asian style small plates just doesn't quite fit in my definition of tapas. I didn't care for her version of yakitori chicken skewers. Or the grilled potatoes either. But these Italian skewers were very nice. Different. Kind of fun. Fairly easy.

Serving this as a sit-down appetizer (first course) might be better than trying to eat it out of hand. The skewer required a bit of manipulation to get the food off of it and onto the plate. There was a bed of halved cherry tomatoes, tossed with a little dressing (not included in the recipe) and mixed with a bit of pesto too. The skewers are lightly toasted bread cubes, fresh basil leaves, bocconcini (small mozzarella balls, fresh only), drizzled with a bit of olive oil, grilled briefly and placed atop the tomato salad. A very refreshing grilled starter.

Here are the skewers prior to grilling.

Grilled Mozzie Skewers with Pesto
Recipe By: Tarla Fallgatter class
Serving Size : 6
1 whole Italian bread loaf
Olive oil for bread
8 ounces mozzarella cheese -- fresh bocconcini (small balls)
24 whole basil leaves
1 pint mini plum tomatoes -- halved
4 tablespoons pesto sauce
12 wooden skewers, soaked in water 30 minutes
1. Preheat outdoor grill. Slice bread into 1 1/2" cubes. Coat the cubes with olive oil and set aside. Or, if the bread is fresh, put it in a 350 oven for 2-4 minutes until just barely toasted on the outside. Do not dry them out as you want the bread to be soft in the middle after you've grilled the skewers.
2. Meanwhile, cut up tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and drizzle them with a little olive oil and some pesto. Toss to coat.
2. Thread 2 bocconcini alternately with bread (3 bread, 2 cheese) and basil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on the grill. Cover and cook for 3-6 minutes, turning halfway through to toast both sides of the bread and warm the cheese. Remove skewers from the grill. Put a portion of the tomatoes on each plate and lay the skewer on top. Drizzle additional pesto on top of the bread and cheese. Serve while they're hot.
Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 193 Calories; 14g Fat (65.6% calories from fat); 11g Protein; 6g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 37mg Cholesterol; 251mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.
To view a printable recipe, click on title at top.

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