Caveman Caprese


Yep, still in our open-air galley here in New Orleans, doing as much as we can on the transom grill and otherwise up top until autumn weather kicks in.  Tonight we adapted a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks — The Thrill of the Grill — into what I like to call a “Caveman Caprese.”  The fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil you know, with a hefty topping of grilled shrimp and Sopressata salami, which you will love.  Serve this with crusty French bread and nobody will really want dinner afterward.

Grilled Shrimp and Sopressata Caprese

For a print-friendly recipe see below

~24 large shrimp
10 ounces Sopressata or another hard Italian salami
1 pint cherry tomatoes
16 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
1/2 bunch (4-5 sprigs) fresh basil
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
Loaf of French bread

The original recipe called for Sopressata — a hard Italian salame with a bit of heat to it.  I had never had it, and consider it a character weakness not to have tried every cured pork product I can, so I was glad I made the effort and found it in the deli aisle at my local grocery.  It probably helps that the Rouses family has Italian heritage, because by the time shelf space is allotted for all the Cajun and Creole specialty foods down here, there tends not to be a lot left for more distant ethnicities!

Cut the log of salami in half lengthwise, and then each half into 12 half-moons.

Thread the shrimp, Sopressata and tomatoes onto metal skewers, alternating and making sure to get a piece of salami next to each shrimp…the meat gives the shrimp a great flavor and a bit of fat as they grill.  Salt and pepper the skewers.

Grill the skewers, turning once, until the shrimp are opaque.

While the shrimp are grilling, slice the cheese and lay out on a platter.  Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper.

Remove leaves from several sprigs of basil and chop the leaves roughly.

When skewers are grilled to perfection, carefully slip them past a Spaniel Swab who is half hoping you fail to negotiate the companionway and accidentally drop the cutting board.

Push the contents of the skewers off over the top of the cheese.  Don’t worry about crushing the tomatoes in the process.  This is a good thing.  Sprinkle basil over the top.

Serve with a good crusty French bread, a sunset, and a defensive position.  Mangia!


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