Bite-sized food is one of the best ways to create a romantic atmosphere for your Valentine dinner. That way you can feed each other while talking and kissing in between! To that end, I created cheese appetizers using small mozzarella balls that I emptied and stuffed with homemade tapenade. The preparation is quite simple if you prep everything in advance.
I made the tapenade using kalamata olives. I love the way the blackish deep-purple color contrasts so well with the white mozzarella; they’re also the best choice because of their rich and fruity flavor. I served the mozzarella appetizers on herb-Parmesan crackers, so they’re easy to pick up and eat in one single bite.
1. Info for Tapenade Stuffed Mozzarella Cheese Appetizers
- Cook Time: unavailable
- Total Time: unavailable
- Servings: 24
- Calories: unavailable
2. Ingredients for Tapenade Stuffed Mozzarella Cheese Appetizers
- 24 fresh mini mozzarella balls
- 3/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
- 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 clove pickled garlic (or raw garlic), finely minced
- ½ cup tapenade, as needed
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- 2 anchovy filets (optional), chopped
- 1 tablespoon sweet basil leaves, blanched and coarsely chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups mixed lettuce, for garnish
- 12 herb-Parmesan cheese crackers
- Prepping the mozzarella cheese: Create little "hats" by cutting the tops off the mozzarella balls. Using a melon baller, create a cavity by hollowing out the center. Set aside.
- Making tapenade filling: In a mini-food processor (or blender), combine the chopped olives, anchovies (if used), 2 teaspoons honey, capers, basil, garlic and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Pulse until smooth. Drizzle with 2 tablespoon olive oil. Pulse until the oil is well incorporated. Transfer to a bowl. Add 4 tablespoons basil leaves. Season with black pepper. Stir well using a spatula. Check seasoning; depending on the saltiness of the anchovies, add more salt if necessary (I made 2 batches so there would be a vegetarian version).
- Making the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the rest of the lemon juice, honey, olive oil and Dijon mustard. Stir well.
- I used the quenelle method to fill the mozzarella balls. Using 2 teaspoons, gather one portion of the tapenade filling in one spoon. Scrape the loose mixture from the sides using the other spoon. Repeat between the 2 spoons until the mound is tightly packed. Slide the mound into the mozzarella cavity. Repeat until all the mozzarella bites are filled.
- Place 2 mozzarella balls per cracker. Cover with the little "hats". Place the crackers on a bed of lettuce.
- Drizzle the appetizers with the lemon dressing.
- Serve immediately.
- Bon appétit!