- Yields: 35 bocconcini bites
- Preparation: 60 minutes
- 1 tbsp (15mL) cumin, caraway and coriander seed
- 2-4 dried hot chili peppers, depending on size and heat preference
- 2 sun dried tomatoes, dry variety, not oil-packed
- 2 tsp (10mL) paprika
- 2 tsp (10mL) garlic powder
- 1 tsp (5mL) salt
- 1 pkg SALERNO - Cherry Bocconcini, drained and patted dry
- 1 tbsp (15mL) lemon juice
- 1 tbsp (15mL) olive oil
- 35 fresh basil leaves
- 35 dried apricots
- Toast cumin, caraway and coriander seeds in a small dry skillet set over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 7 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
- Grind toasted seeds with hot peppers and dried tomatoes in a coffee grinder or mini chop. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in paprika, garlic powder and salt. Makes 1/2 cup (125 mL) dry rub. (Dry mixture can be reserved in an airtight container for up to 1 month.)
- Blend 2 tbsp (30 mL) spice blend with lemon juice and olive oil in a medium bowl to make a paste. Toss bocconcini balls with spice mixture. Marinate for at least 15 minutes (or refrigerate for up to 1 day).
- Open up one side of each apricot. Line with a small basil leaf and insert a marinated bocconcini ball. Arrange on a serving platter.
- Good quality apricots should be moist and tender and easy to open up.
- For an alternate serving option, alternately skewer bocconcini with cherry tomatoes and fresh basil leaves for a 'spicy Caprese bite'.
- For those who like more heat, add cayenne pepper to the spice blend or choose a hotter dried pepper.
- For a shortcut, replace the homemade spice blend with a prepared Harissa spice mixture.
- Blend leftover Harissa spice mixture with melted butter and a bit of lemon to baste chicken or fish before grilling or baking.