Summer is in full swing and so are our gardens! If you don’t have a garden, then go to any local farmer’s market and see summer’s harvest at its best with baskets of varieties of tomatoes, zucchini, and herbs such as basil. But at this point, you may have run out of ideas of how to use these tasty vegetables in a new and creative way. This is where my Mini Caprese Zucchini and Prosciutto Stacks come in! I like to serve these as an appetizer in the summer not only because of the freshness of the produce but also because there is minimal cooking involved and they can be made a couple of hours in advance.
In general, “caprese” means a salad of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil and originated in Italy. My take on this traditional salad takes the typical ingredients and adding in two other favorites: Grilled Zucchini and Prosciutto. If you aren’t familiar with prosciutto, it is basically a dry-cured ham that is usually served sliced and uncooked. It also originates from Italy which makes it a perfect addition and adds a little bit of heartiness to the appetizer.
Mini Zucchini and Prosciutto Caprese Stacks
(Approximately 24 appetizer stacks)
- 2 large zucchini
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella
- 2 Roma tomatoes
- 4 oz. deli sliced prosciutto
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons prepared pesto
- 2 splashes red wine vinegar
- 12 large fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
- Balsamic glaze, for drizzling
- Heat a grill or grill pan on medium heat.
- Slice each zucchini on the diagonal into 12 slices (24 slices total). Brush one side of each zucchini slice with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, place them oil-side down on the grill pan and cook for 2 minutes. Flip each slice and continue grilling until they have grill marks but are still somewhat firm, about 1 minute. Set aside to cool.
- Slice the mozzarella into 6 slices, then cut each slice in half. Slice each tomato into 6 slices crosswise (12 slices total). Season with salt to bring out the flavor.
- Slice the prosciutto into 24 strips
- To make the dressing: Combine the mayonnaise, pesto and vinegar in a small bowl and stir together until well combined.
- To assemble the stacks: Top a slice of grilled zucchini with one of the half-slices of mozzarella.
- Top the mozzarella with about a teaspoon of the pesto dressing.
- Arrange a slice of tomato on top, followed by the proscuitto slice rolled up and then the basil leaf.
- Secure the stack with a toothpick.
- Repeat with the remaining ingredients until you have 24 mini stacks.
- Arrange the sliders on a platter, drizzle with balsamic glaze and garnish the platter with more basil.
*Note: This may be more than a bite full for some so I like to use the toothpick as a vehicle to put the stack on the plate, then when eating I remove the toothpick and pick it up with my hands and eat it in two bites!