Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Italian Bruschetta

This is a very easy recipe and is perfect with any Italian style meal or one that needs a colorful and flavorful start. It would also be quite delicious served over fish, shrimp, or chicken. I will give you two versions, one for 4-6 people, and one for a much larger crowd that you can take to a pot luck or bbq. Here is the smaller version:

Bruschetta with Tomato and Arugula

 Makes about 24                    Bake 7 minutes            Oven 425 degrees

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped into small dice (1 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup chopped arugula leaves

1/4 small onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup snipped fresh basil or equal amounts freeze dried basil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1  8 oz. loaf baquette-style french bread

2-3 tbsp olive oil

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the tomatoes, arugula, onion, basil, garlic, the 1 tbsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Slice bread diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices. Lightly brush both sides with the 2-3 tbsp olive oil. Place on baking sheet. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 5-7 minutes or until crisp and light brown, turning once. Cool on wire rack.

To serve, top toasted bread slices with the tomato mixture. Makes about 24.

If you prefer, you can skip toasting the bread and serve it simply on sliced, fresh French Baquettes.

I recommend investing in a garlic press, it is much quicker and saves your hands from smelling like garlic. I love mine. Look for a nice heavy, sturdy one.

An easy way to dice onion is to cut it into quarters, slice, and using a large chef's knife, hold the tip down on the board and just lift the back of the blade and chop rapidly, keeping the tip down. I keep a separate cutting board just for chopping onion and garlic as the board tends to absorb the flavors and transfers them no matter how clean it is.

Here is the larger recipe:

Bruschetta for a Crowd

12 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped into small dice

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 lg sweet mild onion, finely minced

1 cup chopped fresh basil, or freeze dried basil

1 cup chopped fresh arugula

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp sea salt (or more, if you like)

1/4 tsp black pepper ( or more, to taste)

2 or 3 long loaves thin French Baquettes,( sliced diagonally, 1/2 inch thick and toasted, brushed with olive oil, for 3 to 4 minutes each side in 425 degree oven on baking sheet. Let cool on rack.)

Mix tomatoes and all ingredients together (except bread) and let stand at room temperature for one hour.

To serve, put tomato Bruschetta in a low medium size bowl with a dipping spoon and a platter or separate bowl of sliced bread. Let guests help themselves.

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