December 1st and the silly season has well and truly started. A time for pre Christmas catch-ups, get togethers and cocktail parties. Full of conviviality, canapés and festive good cheer. Truly the most wonderful time of the year.
In search of a healthier festive treat here is a cheeky (almost kitsch) Christmas cocktail party take on Caprese salad. Mini roma tomato and bocconcini ball Santas. Speared on cocktail sticks 1970’s style. Almost too cute to eat. Inspired in part by the now ubiquitous Strawberry Santas which filled pinterest boards two years ago but much, much kinder to your hips. After all each mini Caprese cocktail Santa accounts for just 26 calories. Almost too good to be true.
Mini Caprese Cocktail Santas
Makes 16 (26 calories per cocktail stick)
16 roma cherry tomatoes (48 calories)
18 bambini (5g) bocconcini (mozzarella) balls (360 calories)
32 basil leaves, separated from stem, washed and dried (6 calories)
16 wooden cocktail sticks
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
DRAIN bocconcini balls and pat dry with sheets of kitchen paper towel. Cut two of the bocconcini balls into eight pieces; these will form the pompom on Santa’s hat. Leave the remaining bocconcini balls whole. Set aside.
THOROUGHLY rinse tomatoes. Remove from stem if using vine ripened tomatoes. With a sharp paring knife cut around the pointy end of each tomato, about 1/3 of the way down. The top will form Santa’s hat, and the bottom 2/3 of the tomato his body.
USE the sharp point of your knife to gently remove seeds from both the top and bottom of each tomato and place on a kitchen paper lined plate upside down to absorb any moisture. Set aside.
FOR each mini caprese cocktail Santa, carefully thread a basil leaf onto a cocktail stick, followed by a larger tomato bottom, another basil leaf, a whole bocconcini ball, a smaller tomato “hat” and a bocconcini “pompom.
REPEAT until all cocktail sticks, tomatoes, bocconcini balls and basil leaves have been used.
SPRINKLE with sea salt and pepper and place in a tall glass or vase to serve. Dipping sauce of extra virgin oil and aged balsamic vinegar poured into a shot glass optional. Remember each tablespoon of olive oil accounts for 120 calories and balsamic vinegar 20 calories a serve.