Caprese Salad on a Stick

caprese salad on a stick - with oil and vinegar

The Minnesota State Fair recently announced 45 new foods for 2013. Of the over 400 total food options, 70 of those are attached to a stick. You won’t find “Caprese Salad on a Stick” at the Fair – but it’s a delicious appetizer you can make at home.

But first, more on fair-fare…

There are fair-goers who’ll swear you haven’t lived until you’ve eaten a pork chop, Scotch Egg or fried Snickers on a stick.  Even Minnesota’s own “Tater-Tot Hot Dish” can be enjoyed kebab-style.

{This is the same state fair where we honor the dairy industry by crowning a new “Princess Kay of the Milky Way.” Part of her job involves posing for several hours in a walk-in, glass-walled refrigerator as a 90 pound block of butter is carved into a likeness of her head. But I digress…}

caprese - princess kay

Photo from

Hungry for more?

Other on-a-stick options include S’mores, spaghetti and meatballs, chocolate-covered jalapeños, chocolate-covered bacon, and mashed potatoes.

How do you get mashed potatoes on a stick?!  Surprise! {sarcasm} Turns out the technique just involves some sort of breading and deep frying. Then, there’s a whole booth designated to deep-fried candy bars on a stick.  And why not?  A regular candy bar is just too healthy!

Not to be outdone, several breweries offer beer-on-a-stick – perfect for washing down the other 69 on-a-stick options.

In the spirit of this summer State Fair tradition, here is an easy {and beautiful} summer appetizer – no matter what state you live in. The good news is, you won’t need a defibrillator after enjoying them.

This is all about celebrating farmers’ market tomatoes and just-picked basil. Splurge on fresh mozzarella and really good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. {The balsamic reduction can be used in many other recipes. I love it drizzled on my Pear & Fig & Caramelized Onion Flatbread.}

caprese salad on a stick - balsamic reduction

Gently cook the balsamic vinegar until it’s thick enough to coat a spoon. Mine was so thick there was a full minute between drops!


caprese salad on a stick - live basil

I love buying “live” basil – it looks great on the counter, and I pick the leaves when I need them.

caprese salad on a stick - mozzarella

You can get fresh mozzarella in many shapes and sizes. I like the “Ciliegine” or cherry-sized. You can use these balls of cheese as is, or cut them in half.

Caprese Salad on a Stick
Option: Buy marinated mozzarella balls and forgo the balsamic reduction and olive oil drizzle.
  • ¾ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pound mozzarella balls (Ciliegine)
  • 1 large bunch fresh basil
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Pour balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the vinegar has reduced to ¼ cup or until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Set aside, and cool to room temperature.
  2. Cut tomatoes in half crosswise.
  3. To assemble: place toothpick or small skewer through mozzarella ball, a basil leaf (folded if necessary) and tomato, with cut side of tomato at the base of the toothpick (so it will stand on plate). Repeat with remaining cheese, basil and tomatoes.
  4. Place on serving platter and drizzle with balsamic reduction, olive oil and salt & pepper to taste, or let guests dress their own.

caprese salad on a stick - plated

caprese salad on a stick - from above

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