Many a home cook has reached for mozzarella when putting together an appetizer tray. There are basically three types of mozzarella appetizers. Some favorites are baked, gooey delights, while others have been gently marinated in vinegar or other acidic liquid. While both hot and marinated cheese appetizers are popular, many home cooks insist that nothing beats simple mozzarella appetizers with two or three of the freshest possible ingredients.
On its own, mozzarella is a buttery-textured, lightly sweet cheese that makes almost every diner deeply happy. Paired with tomatoes, though, fresh mozzarella becomes truly transcendental. The simplest version is easy to make by alternating slices of a flavorful tomato such as an heirloom variety with thin slices of cheese. A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil made from the first cold pressing and a sprinkling of roughly chopped fresh basil or other herbs makes a perfect little nibble to top little toast rounds and accompany a crispy white wine.
Fresh mozzarella that has been shaped into small balls can be purchased in the deli department of many grocery stores. Another super easy appetizer offering involves pesto, whether homemade or store purchased. Pesto, a paste made of ground fresh basil, olive oil, and garlic, together with some toasted pine nuts, makes a flavorful and brightly colored base for the little mozzarella balls. They can be served on sliced French bread or nibbled from toothpick skewers.
For fancier small bites, one delicious approach dots thin slices of mozzarella with a little olive tapenade then wraps the nibble in prosciutto. One variation adds grape tomatoes, and another offers lightly steamed asparagus. This appetizer is easy to make, but it looks like it requires the hand of a professional chef and tastes every bit as delicious as it sounds.
Mozzarella appetizers made from cubes that have been marinated in olive oil, some fresh herbs, and a splash of fruity vinegar are a snap to put together. Adding a tiny slice of sun-dried tomato to the top makes it pretty, and sprinkling a few capers around the platter adds sparkle. These are especially lovely atop artisan, herbed crackers.
Among the most popular show-stopping mozzarella appetizers is one that requires only a round of mozzarella and either a few sheets of puff pastry or prepared pastry dough. Wise cooks know that tucking some orange marmalade, dried cranberries, or a combination of fresh-chopped herbs into the package only makes it better. This one is gooey but amazing and is best served with crackers or bread to keep it together.