Bruschetta (aka, Crostini), Three Ways


This weekend, in addition to attending Maya’s swim meet one day, and working the meet the following day, we found time to celebrate two birthdays, those of Ted’s mom and Ted’s uncle.  Our family get-togethers are generally pot-luck, with the host telling everyone what to bring, so that the menu has some sort of cohesion, and we don’t end up with 5 plates of chicken and nothing else.  I was asked to bring corn and bruschetta.  Yay, bruschetta!  I love my standard, go to bruschetta recipe, which I have posted about before, but I also like to try something new from time to time.  Happily enough, a recent Bon Appetit magazine has recipes for quite a few delicious bruschettas, and I decided to add a couple of those to my repertoire.  The results?  They were all delicious!   The video is of Ted’s lovely cousin, Sewdaye, since I was in that hot and sweaty zone of cooking and didn’t feel ‘camera ready’.  And while Ted did graciously take some photos of the finished product, I didn’t think of it in time, and the plates had been messed up by people eating the yummy goodness.  I know, rude, right?  Plus, the professional ones are SO gorgeous. So you’ll get theirs, along with one of ours. So, here are the recipes that I made.

First is a bruschetta that had my mouth watering just thinking about it, made with fresh peaches and prosciutto. Yum.
Peach, Prosciutto & Ricotta
(photo and recipe, here)

Peach, Prosciutto & Ricotta Crostini
Ingredients

  • 12 slices of ciabatta bread
  • 1 ripe peach
  • 12 tablespoons fresh ricotta (preferably sheep’s milk)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto
  • Honey

Preparation

  • Grill bread slices.
  • Halve, pit, and thinly slice peach.
  • Spoon about 1 tablespoon ricotta onto each toast and sprinkle with ground pepper. Tear prosciutto into feathery pieces and drape a few slices over ricotta on each. Drizzle each with honey and top with 2 peach slices.

This was delicious! The whole point of the recipes was to grill your bread, but I didn’t want to fuss with that, so I broiled them. I know they’d be awesome grilled, if you’re so inclined. The tip to making it delicious was to go heavy on the prosciutto and light on the honey. Otherwise the sweet overpowers the salty, and you don’t get the right balance. Perfect this time of year, when stone fruits are so luscious.

Next was one that I had to try, because it looked so bright and lovely, and I love the mixture of peas and mint together.
Peas and mint
(photo and recipe, here)

Peas, Mint & Parmesan Crostini
Ingredients

  • 12 slices of baguette bread
  • 1/2 garlic clove
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas, thawed
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Shaved Parmesan
  • Torn mint
  • A few drops of balsamic vinegar

Preparation

  • Grill 12 slices bread and rub with garlic clove.
  • Blanch peas in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, about 2 minutes for fresh peas and 1 minute for frozen.
  • Drain peas; transfer to a bowl. Season with kosher salt and extra-virgin olive oil and mash with the back of a fork.
  • Spread about 1 tablespoon mixture over each toast. Garnish with shaved Parmesan, torn mint, and a few drops of balsamic vinegar.

I liked this one a lot. Really light, really delicious. The Parmesan and the balsamic vinegar really made the dish, too. This is one time to get the good stuff if you can, because you really taste it.

Last, what we call old faithful. It’s my favorite recipe for a basic tomato & basil brushetta. We’re having the leftover tomato mixture spooned over chicken for dinner tonight, along with the leftover peas, which I’ll heat up and dress with a little bit of cheese, though I haven’t decided yet about whether to include the balsamic or not with the peas. Recipe found in one of my favorite cookbooks, “The New Basics Cookbook

(like the little signs? There are those in the family who shun pork products, so I wanted to make sure they didn’t accidentally ingest any, and this was my way of warning them, without having to hover and scream, ‘PIG!’, which might, after all, be misinterpreted. Once I had decided on the pig sign, I felt obligated/inspired to create signs for the other crostini as well.)

Bruschetta
Ingredients

  • 12 to 14 fresh ripe plum tomatoes (about 1 3/4 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, slivered
  • 8 thick slices round peasant bread

Preparation

  • Cut the tomatoes into 1/4-inch dice and place in a bowl. Toss with the minced garlic and shallots.
  • Chop the basil coarsely and add to the tomatoes, along with the lemon juice, salt and pepper, and 1/3 cup olive oil. Set aside.
  • Heat the 1/4 cup olive oil in a small skillet. Saute the slivered garlic until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Discard the garlic and reserve the oil.
  • Toast the bread and cut each slice in half. Arrange the slices on 8 small plates. Brush the garlic-flavored oil over each slice, spoon the tomato mixture over the bread, and serve immediately. The mixture should be at room temperature.

Yummy! Looking at this, I realize two things…I didn’t want to go too crazy with different varieties of bread, so I didn’t buy ciabatta for the prosciutto. I just used baguettes, which I bought at our brand new local Panera bread store, which I thought were OK, but not as good as Acme. Next time I might buy just the ciabatta, and cut the slices in half, so as to not fill people up too quickly. Also, I didn’t rub the bread with garlic cloves or infuse any oil with a garlic flavor. That would have been a nice touch, but I was a little hot and bothered in the kitchen already.

Much thanks and extra credit goes to Ted, not only for taking the video and the photos (and editing and uploading the video before he left for work today, so I could post…), but also for running out and buying me more tomatoes, when I determined that the ones that I had bought on Thursday (at the Farmers’ Market no less) were flavorless. It’s been kind of cold and overcast here the past week, so tomatoes aren’t at their peak.

7 thoughts on “Bruschetta (aka, Crostini), Three Ways

  1. All three were really delicious. I tend to gravitate toward “old faithful,” but I think the first one you highlighted (and the one Sewdaye said was the best) WAS the best – because it was the most interesting. Oh, and I’m glad I went to the farmer’s market for tomatoes. 🙂

  2. Oh, I’d assign bruschetta to you, too! They all looked and sounded wonderful. I’m a huge fan of bruschetta, and I love trying new combinations. One that I really loved was grilled chicken, brie, red grape, and tarragon. Rick, like Ted, was not thrilled and stuck with my Old Faithful (very similar to yours! so classic), but he’s not very adventurous. Your presentation was very nice, too; I thought your signs were terrific.

  3. PIG! PIG! PIG!

    I am so interested in the piggie one. It does sound very interesting plus we have already established my love for the salty sweet. I know peas and mint go well together, but that one just sounds too healthy. of course I’d try it and then love it, but on the surface I would probably already make my mind up to love the piggie one with old faithful as a runner up… especially hearing that Ted went out to get special tomatoes just for them (it? them? whatever)

    GIVE ME MORE PIG!

  4. Cherry, if we can ever plan a get together for all of us, I’ll make the piggie one for you. And the mint one. And the tomato one. 🙂

    Nance, that bruschetta you describe sounds delicious! I love grapes and chicken together. Usually you just see that in salads. YUM.

    Ted, I’m so glad you got the good tomatoes! And I’m glad that we live in an area with 4 or 5 good farmers’ markets every week, so even when the ones I got on Thursday failed me, you could get more on Saturday.

  5. I always like peach, so the first one sounds particularly delicious to me. But I’m sure that I could be flexible and enjoy all of them– including the one mentioned in comments above.

  6. As long as I’ve been alive, I’ve avoided fresh tomatoes. I love the by-products…ketchup/catsup, tomato sauce, salsa, etc. But I hated the actual fruit. Lately, though, I’ve allowed them in diced form onto my tacos. And I didn’t mind at all. Bruschetta with tomatoes could well be next.

  7. SW – Good luck! Tell me, is it the texture? The people who hate fresh tomatoes that I know all say it’s the texture, which makes no sense to me since I don’t mind the texture at all. Anyway, bruschetta is an awesome gateway food! Lots of basil and garlic and olive oil. Yum.

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