Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Bruschetta 5 Ways

Bruschetta is a general term for a classic Italian dish with endless styles and variations. We often think of Bruschetta as tomatoes on bread, but really anything put on thick, grilled bread, and even the bread itself is considered to be Bruschetta. Often eaten during the day for lunch, or as an appetizer to dinner, the fresh flavor of the vegetables and crispy bread is the most simple and fantastic way to start a meal or enjoy your summer harvest.

All Bruschetta starts with good bread. Rustic bread in big, thick slices, brushed with olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper and lightly grilled until the outside is crispy with grill marks but still soft and tender inside. Slice the bread too small, too thin, grill or bake it too long and you’ll end up with something more like a crostini and that’s not what this is all about. Rub the grilled bread with the inside of a clove of garlic, brush with a little more olive oil and you’re ready to pile on whatever. Or just eat it like that…


Assorted Tomatoes – Dice tomatoes if you’re using big ones; halve and quarter if you are using smaller varieties
Olive Oil – A good amount, enough to coat tomatoes
Balsamic Vinegar – 1 teaspoon, optional
Yellow Onion or Shallots – Minced optional
Herbs – Chopped parsley or basil chiffonade, optional.
Salt and Pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix gently. Season to taste.


Assorted mushrooms – Any kind of mushrooms will do. They don’t have to be assorted but it’s nice if they are. Sliced or roughly chopped to your preference
Olive Oil or Butter for sautéing – I prefer half and half
Herbs – Chopped parsley, tarragon or thyme. You can also sauté the mushrooms with a sprig of sage and remove it when they are done
Salt and Pepper

Sauté mushrooms until brown. Remember, don’t crowd the pan!
Season to taste. If using herbs, add just before removing the mushrooms from the pan. You can skip the herbs if you don’t want to overpower the mushrooms. Add a drop of cream or a drizzle of truffle oil to bring it the next level.


Assorted Zucchini – Green, yellow or a combination of both, sliced thinly lengthwise.
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Crushed Red Pepper, optional
Herbs – Chopped parsley, optional

Rub sliced zucchini with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill on high until zucchini has grill marks and is beginning to fall apart. Shred grilled zucchini lightly with two forks. Season to taste, add herbs if using and a good glug of olive oil.

Assorted Eggplant – Any kind will do, sliced thinly lengthwise
Olive Oil – A lot of olive oil, otherwise the eggplant will be dry
Parsley – Chopped, optional
Garlic – 1 clove through a garlic press, optional
Salt and Pepper

Rub sliced eggplant with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill on high until eggplant has grill marks and is beginning to fall apart. Shred grilled eggplant lightly with two forks. Season to taste, add herbs if using and a good glug of olive oil.

Roasted Peppers

Bell Peppers – Red, yellow, orange or a combination of the three
Olive Oil
Garlic – A few cloves smashed
Parsley – Chopped, optional
Salt and Pepper

On a gas stove, place peppers directly on flame and turn until charred all over. Place charred peppers in paper bag and let steam for 5-10 minutes. Remove stem and core and rinse peppers under cold water until most, but not all, of the charred skin is removed from the flesh. Small pieces of the charred skin add to the character of the dish. Dry and slice into thing strips. Add smashed garlic cloves, salt and pepper and herbs if using. Drizzle a good amount of olive oil and mix gently until combined. If you desire to store in fridge for a longer period of time, place peppers in mason jar and cover with olive oil.

Bruschetta is great for the summer. It’s refreshing and makes a great lunch, whether you are home or going on a picnic. It’s also a great way to start a dinner or party. Having the bread grilled in a basket and the vegetables set up in bowls lets your guests make bites to their own tastes. Serve alongside thinly sliced soppressata, prosciutto and capicola rolled and stacked. Some baby arugula gives the option for a little spiciness. Don’t forget a big piece of mozzarella or burrata and a harder cheese like provolone or scamorza. A jar of pesto and some good extra virgin olive oil with a little balsamic is a nice touch. Assorted olives, stuffed hot peppers, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes round out the antipasti and make the perfect Italian lunch.

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