I take little shame in wondering why the caprese concept of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil doesn’t automatically include a little cured meat for salt and general harmony. I hear you: The harmony is already there, and if you need salt, there’s about a thousand kinds to choose from…but I’m ignoring you. While we’re serving antipasti, I thought I’d loop in hot coppa, a surprisingly underutilized member of the Italian salumi family. Coppa, made from the neck of the pig, boasts a prosciutto-like fermented porky aroma and flavor, but with a mounting red pepper kick that will certainly make you reach for another slice. There’s every bit as much coppa as mozzarella and tomato in this eye-catching hors d’oeuvre.
Using cocktail swords for appetizer skewers is great, because they’re swords. On top of it all, “coppa caprese” is fun to say. Make these hefty two-bite appetizers for your next shindig and watch them vanish from the platter.
- 4 ounces bocconcini mozzarella, drained
- 1 small bunch fresh basil
- 1/4 pound hot coppa, thinly sliced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes (get multicolored heirlooms if you can!)
- 3 heaping tablespoons whole-grain mustard
- 3 heaping tablespoons fresh basil pesto
- salt to taste
- sliced baguette or Italian bread
- extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
For the pesto mustard
Combine mustard and pesto in a small bowl. Season with salt to taste and serve alongside skewers.
For the skewers
Slice each cherry tomato in half crosswise to make a top and a bottom half.
Slice each mozzarella ball in half. Drain on paper towels if they're still a little damp.
Separate about 20 basil leaves from the bunch at the base of the stem and keep loosely wrapped in damp paper towels. You may need more or less, depending on how many skewers you get out of the materials.
Skewer in this order: tomato bottom, mozzarella, coppa, basil, mozzarella, coppa, tomato top.
Serve with sliced bread drizzled with olive oil and pesto mustard for dipping/smearing.