The only thing better than a ball of mozzarella? Many tiny balls of mozzarella. Better still? Tiny marinated mozzarella balls combined with sweet pickled peppers. A garlicky brine of red wine vinegar, chile flakes, and fresh thyme adds heaps of flavor to this perfect party snack. We call for perlini here, but you could use ciliegine mozzarella (i.e., cherry-size); bocconcini will be too large. The longer the fresh mozzarella balls sit in the piquant marinade, the more flavorful they become. That means go ahead and make this antipasto ahead of time (up to two days in advance, refrigerate it in an airtight container) and let it hang out on the counter at room temperature for the duration of the party.
Once you have the method for this easy appetizer recipe down, feel free to riff: Swap out the thyme for fresh oregano or another hearty fresh herb (or shake in a bit of whatever dried herb mix you have on hand), add extra fresh garlic, toss in some halved cherry tomatoes, or play around with vinegar substitutions.
Even better still? This great appetizer isn’t over after all the cheese and peppers have disappeared. Offer some crusty bread for dunking in the flavorful dressing left behind by the mozzarella cheese balls for round 2 of the dish that keeps on giving.