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Italian Tomato Basil and Mozzarella Kabobs

Contributed by: News Canada

These kabobs are inspired by a wonderful Roman specialty called "spiedini alla romana", in which bread and mozzarella cheese are skewered together, grilled and then drenched in a rich anchovy sauce. This version adds that irresistible summer combination of tomatoes and basil to the blend, making for a unique kabob that can star as a colorful vegetarian entree or hearty appetizer.

Ingredients:

  • 1 thick, day-old baguette French or Italian bread
  • 1 pound semi-firm mozzarella cheese (not fresh)
  • 6 ripe but firm plum tomatoes
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tin (2 ounces) anchovies, drained and finely minced

Directions:

Charcoal: Direct - Gas: Direct/Low Heat

Slice baguette into sixteen 1/2-inch thick rounds and mozzarella into twelve 1/2-inch-thick slices. Halve tomatoes lengthwise. Separate basil leaves from stems, setting aside the largest leaves for use.

To make kabobs, on each of four 12-inch metal skewers, thread one slice bread, followed by a basil leaf, mozzarella slice, another basil leaf, tomato half, and then repeat process, starting with bread. The ingredients should be pressed quite firmly together, and each kabob should have 4 slices bread, 6 basil leaves, 3 slices mozzarella, and 3 tomato halves. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over each skewer and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat butter and remaining oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted, add garlic and saut until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add anchovies and saute one minute more. Keep warm over very low heat.

Meanwhile, place kabobs in the center of the cooking grate and grill about 3 minutes per side to toast the bread and gently melt (but not dissolve) the cheese. Place kabobs on serving plates and drizzle generously with warm anchovy butter. Serve at once.

Serving Size: Makes 4 servings


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