Recipe by Zurie
A great summery appetizer! We enjoyed a similar salad as a light lunch at the restaurant of a wine farm near Robertson the Western Cape Province, and ever since I've been imitating it. Of course small soft mozzarella balls (bocconcini) are preferable, as is home-made pesto, but let's face it, these real deli goodies are not always available. I used a good bottled pesto and ordinary mozzarella. You can use shallots in place of the small (pickling type) onions. This is great with a glass of chilled dry white wine and some still-warm home-made bread!
- 8 white pearl onions, small, the type used for pickling (or use shallots)
- 4 -8 slices ham, best quality (like Parma or Black Forest ham)
- 12 bite-size fresh mozzarella cheese balls (or 12 mozzarella squares, or bocconcini balls)
- 12 grape tomatoes (also called small plum tomatoes)
- 2 -3 tablespoons pesto sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (if necessary, see directions)
- 1 cup arugula (or use any lettuce mixture, tightly packed)
- 2 tablespoons vinaigrette dressing
- concentrated balsamic vinegar (optional)
Directions See How It's Made
- You'll need 4 - 6 thin kebab sticks.
- Peel the onions, rinse well, and boil for 5 minutes. (More than that. and they tend to disintegrate). Rinse again under cold water and leave to cool somewhat. They don't have to be cold when you use them.
- Prepare the mozzarella -- draining and drying, or cutting into neat chunks.
- Rinse and dry the small tomatoes.
- Put the cooled onions, the mozzarella pieces and the tomatoes in a small bowl. If your pesto is quite thick, mix in the olive oil to thin. Gently fold in the pesto with a spoon to coat the cheese, onions and small tomatoes.
- Arrange either arugula lettuce leaves on plates. Drizzle each little heap with some vinaigrette.
- Put on each skewer tomatoes, pieces of mozzarella, folded ham slices and onions. (See photo's -- use as it suits you). For delicate presentation, use fewer ingredients on a skewer. For a side dish at a BBQ, use longer skewers and more ingredients.
- Arrange the skewers on the salad leaves.
- Drizzle some thick balsamic on the plate. Serve with extra vinaigrette.
- Can be served as a side salad, starter, or with wine and bread as a healthy light lunch.
- **When taking the photograph I did not have ham, and fried some bacon, but it's not as delicate as a very good ham.