Bruschetta

Bruschetta

Bruschetta doesn’t have to be topped with tomatoes, garlic and basil. We’ll introduce you to three delicious variations that really increase the versatility of this classic appetizer.

Toasted Bread for Bruschetta

Toast the bread as close as possible to the time at which you plan to assemble the bruschetta. If you prefer, grill the bread. After trimming the ends, you should have 8 to 10 slices.


Ingredients

1 loaf country bread, about 12 by 5 inches, cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces, ends discarded
3 tablespoons olive oil, preferably extra-virgin
1 large garlic clove, peeled

Adjust oven rack to about 4 inches from heating element and heat broiler; broil bread slices until golden brown on both sides. Brush both sides of each slice with oil and rub with garlic clove.

Bruschetta with Sautéed Sweet Peppers

Serves 4 as a light main course or 8 to 10 as an appetizer


Ingredients

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 large red bell peppers (about 2 pounds), cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4 inch by
3-inch strips
2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained, 1/4 cup juice reserved
11/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
4 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1 recipe Toasted Bread for Bruschetta
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved with vegetable peeler (1/2 to 1 cup shavings)

1. Heat 3 tablespoons oil, bell peppers, onions, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and browned about the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, push vegetables to side of skillet, making a clearing in center, and add remaining 1 teaspoon oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes to clearing; cook, mashing garlic with wooden spoon, until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then stir into vegetables. Reduce heat to low and stir in tomatoes, reserved juice, and thyme. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until moisture has evaporated, 15 to 18 minutes. Off heat, stir in vinegar and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

2. Divide pepper mixture evenly among bread slices, top with shaved Parmesan, and serve.

Bruschetta with Arugula, Red Onions, and Rosemary–White Bean Spread

In a recent tasting, we preferred Progresso cannellini beans—by far—to the other brands sampled.


Ingredients

1 can (19 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
1 small garlic clove, crushed
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
1 recipe Toasted Bread for Bruschetta
1 small bunch arugula (about 2 ounces) washed, dried, and cut into 1/2-inch strips (about 4 cups)

1. In food processor, process 2/3 of beans, 2 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoons water, lemon juice, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper until smooth, about 10 seconds. Add remaining beans and rosemary; pulse until incorporated but not smooth, about five 1-second pulses.

2. Whisk remaining 1 tablespoon oil, vinegar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl; add onion and toss.
3. Divide bean spread evenly among bread slices. Toss arugula with onions until coated, then top bread slices with portion of onions and arugula; serve immediately.

Bruschetta with Summer Squash, Bacon and Blue Cheese

The topped bruschetta goes back under the broiler for a couple of minutes before being served.


Ingredients

4 medium summer squash and/or zucchini (about 2 pounds), halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into matchstick-size pieces
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 ounces (about 4 strips) bacon, minced and fried in small skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 8 minutes, then drained on paper towels
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 recipe Toasted Bread for Bruschetta

1. Combine squash and/or zucchini, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper in medium bowl; let stand 5 minutes, then toss in bacon, cheese, and basil.

2. Divide mixture evenly among bread slices; broil bruschetta until cheese begins to melt, about 11/2 minutes. Serve immediately.