Monday, August 8, 2011

Bruschetta bar

Bruschetta, pronounced in Italy as “brusketta”, is an appetizer from central Italy. It consists of roasted bread rubbed with garlic and topped with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, with no topping. But today there are many variations of Bruschetta with different kinds of toppings. Bruschetta is usually served as a snack or appetizer, but we like to make a meal of it. Today's bruschetta bar has the following choices:
  • Tangy goat cheese topped with french green lentils and sweet roasted red peppers with a generous drizzle of great extra virgin olive oil
  • Melt in your mouth leeks with sauteed button mushrooms flavored with fresh thyme and topped with Parmesan shavings
  • And finally, the most common of them all, but still very good - vine ripened tomatoes with basil and olive oil

Bruschetta Bar


1 large baguette cut on the bias into ½ inch thick slices (Cutting them on the bias looks pretty and provides a larger surface area for the topping)
1 large clove of fresh garlic, skin removed

1. Heat a grill pan over medium high heat and grill the baguette slices for a couple minutes on each side till they get nice char marks. Remove and lightly rub with a raw garlic clove. (If you are not a garlic lover, you can skip this step).

French lentils with roasted red pepper and goat cheese
¼ cup French lentils
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 clove garlic cut into two
1/4 small onion, cut into wedges
One medium sized red bell pepper
2 oz softened goat cheese
Good quality extra virgin olive oil

1. Add the lentils, garlic, onion, salt and water (enough so that it is 1 ½ inches above the lentils) to a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 35 minutes. Skim occasionally to remove the  foam rising to the top. Drain and set aside. 

2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the red bell pepper on a foil lined baking sheet. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes till the skin is charred in places and the pepper has just started to release the juices. Remove from the oven and keep in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. The steam created by covering the container will loosen the skin of the pepper. When it is cool enough to handle, remove the plastic wrap and peel the skin and remove the pith and seeds from the pepper. Cut into ½ wide long strips and keep aside.

3. Spread the goat cheese over the toasted bread. Spoon the lentils over the goat cheese and lay a couple of strips of pepper on top. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Yield: Tops 4 slices of bruschetta

Sautéed leeks and button mushrooms with parmesan

8 oz white button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1½ cups leeks, whites only, finely sliced
2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, finely minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (for that great buttery flavor)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese shavings to serve

1. Heat a medium sized saute pan with the butter and the extra virgin olive oil. When the butter has melted, add the sliced leeks and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Saute over medium heat to soften the leeks without browning. Once soft, add the chopped mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon salt, a few grinds of fresh black pepper and minced thyme. Raise the heat to medium high and cook till the mushrooms have gained some color and are soft. Keep aside to cool.

2. Serve on grilled baguette with a few shavings of parmesan cheese on top.

Yield: Tops 8 slices of bruschetta

Vine ripened tomatoes and basil
2 firm vine ripened tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Mix the chopped tomatoes, fresh basil, salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil in a bowl and set aside for 15 minutes for the flavors to mix.

2. Top a heaping tablespoon over the grilled baguette and serve immediately, otherwise the baguette will become soggy from the tomato juices.

Yield : Tops 6 to 8 bruschetta

1 comment:

  1. I favor the one with mushrooms and leeks.