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Photo for - Harissa Spiced Cherry Bocconcini Bites

Harissa Spiced Cherry Bocconcini Bites

This tapas-style appetizer gets a trendy flavour lift with the addition of Harissa, an aromatic spice blend from North Africa.

  • Yields: 35 bocconcini bites
  • Preparation: 60 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp (15mL) cumin, caraway and coriander seed
  • 2-4 dried hot chili peppers, depending on size and heat pereference
  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
Photo of - Harissa Spiced Cherry Bocconcini Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp (15mL) cumin, caraway and coriander seed
  • 2-4 dried hot chili peppers, depending on size and heat pereference
  • 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