In March, the food world turns its attention to everything green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, but for me the focus is on four weddings in the next two months. Since I am involved in three of the bridal showers, ivory and white have overshadowed the green theme. In the midst of planning appetizers and other party foods, with a little luck I’ll still be able to work in a Ruben Sandwich and homemade sprouted rye buns (my sprouted rye flour should arrive any day now!). Until then, let’s talk about bridal shower menus and Prosciutto-Wrapped Caprese Salad.
Caprese salad is all about impeccably fresh ingredients, there is no room for compromise when the ingredients are few. So few in fact, it’s hard to call it a recipe when all you’re doing is wrapping a piece of prosciutto around cheese, basil, and tomato, securing it with a toothpick and dressing it with olive oil and balsamic. There, see how easy that is, the whole process in one sentence.
Buffalo mozzarella (mozzarella di bufala) is made from made from the milk of domesticated water buffalo and a superb way to start with its tender texture and ultra-fresh taste.
Grape tomatoes work especially well here with their low water content, oblong shape of Roma tomatoes and sweetness of cherry tomatoes. They have a consistent ripe, sweet tomato flavor and the smaller size can be used whole or cut in half to accommodate a smaller sized bite. I like to slice mine so I can sprinkle them with freshly ground sea salt and black Tellicherry peppercorns. If you cannot find grape tomatoes, on-the-vine tomatoes like those shown in the photo are also a good choice.
Fresh organic basil brings the pleasing aroma of summer and heavenly herbal notes. Don’t be shy with its lovely leaves; it is not merely an accent, its fragrance and distinct flavor brings it all together.
Prosciutto is at the top of the list of edible wrappers. Vegetables, shrimp, chicken, and countless other food items have been robed with this Italian specialty. One slice of prosciutto will wrap four of these appetizer bites, so it goes a long way. Even though you might be tempted to grab the prepackaged variety at the local grocery store, put your Google search to good use and find an Italian deli or a Whole Foods Market to slice some for you, wicked thin. We prefer the product at Whole Foods because it is artisan crafted, yet free of nitrites and the meat comes from animals raised without antibiotics, ionophores, hormones, or synthetic hormones. Worth every penny.
Prep the tomatoes by slicing in half and sprinkling with salt and pepper (tomatoes taste better when seasoned before assembly). Cut the mozzarella into pieces similar in size to the tomatoes and tear the basil leaves into manageable pieces to fit between the tomato and cheese. Quarter the prosciutto slices with a sharp knife, wrap each quarter slice around the tomato, basil, and cheese (you’ll get the hang of it by the time you’re almost done). Secure with a toothpick.
Get creative with flavored olive oils or unique presentations—I especially like the way Lori at Lemons and Lavender uses purple cabbage and Heather at Curly Girl uses individual china spoons as a gorgeous display for their Caprese Salad Bites sans prosciutto. When we served Prosciutto-Wrapped Caprese Salad at a friend’s birthday party last month it was a huge hit. Morning, afternoon, or evening, it complements any menu or function, perfect for all the upcoming bridal showers.