Wednesday, June 22, 2011

SC Bruschetta

Is there anything better than a fresh tomato?  It can be eaten by itself, with a little salt and pepper, or in a glorious tomato sandwich.  Made with Duke's Mayonnaise and white bread, of course.  Now is not the time to be getting healthful with the low-fat stuff and wheat bread.  Everything has its place.

We're fortunate to have friends whose 'mater plants are pumping out juicy, bright red tomatoes.  Let's be honest, you can tell the difference between a fresh tomato from the garden or the Farmer's Market than Wal-mart.  No offense, Wally World.  I'll still buy my canned tomatoes from you, just not my fresh summer 'maters.

So what's a girl to do with so many options?  Having some mozzarella on hand nudged me toward making a caprese salad.  But why not add some carbs when you can?  I decided to turn the simple insalata caprese into a bruschetta of sorts.  In my family, there's always at least a small crowd, so this was a nice appetizer before we ate and watched the ball game.

You need:

  • Crusty bread- It needs to be substantial enough to hold the mozzarella and tomato slices.
  • Fresh mozzarella, sliced- And by fresh I mean a ball of mozz.  You could easily use shredded though, since we're going to melt it onto the bread.  I happened to have a ball, and I like the look of it.  Use what you have on hand.
  • Balsamic vinegar- I used about 1/2 cup and reduced it
  • Tomato(es), sliced- Depending on how many bruschettas (bruschetti?) you plan on making, you may need more than one 'mater.  I made eight smaller-sized pieces, so one tomato was sufficient
  • Olive oil- The more the merrier
  • Basil- This adds a touch of herb-y freshness, and it's in season.  My grandmother has tons of basil growing, so I used some of hers.  It's not pictured because I'm a nerd and forgot it until I actually used it.
  • Garlic (optional)- It needs to be the fresh stuff.  No jarred minced garlic because you want to rub the toasted bread with a clove to impart the flavor of the garlic without biting into a raw piece.  I didn't have any this time around, so my toasts didn't get rubbed.
First things first: Cut your bread into slices. I like about an inch thick, so it's nice and hefty.  It's gotta stand up to cheese and a juicy tomato slice.  Go ahead and drizzle or brush them with olive oil.
In all honesty, I could eat them like this.  But in the interest of science, or rather yummy food for more than just myself, go ahead and stick them in a 350º oven until they're slightly golden brown.  Or hey, if you've got the grill fired up that day, try grilling the bread.  That's tasty too.  It's at this point that you would rub them with garlic if you so desire.  Go on and desire, it's de-lush-ous.

Now, it's time for the mozzarella.  Delicately place the mozzarella atop each toasty carb.  Or plop it on, it'll taste just as good.
We're gonna turn up the heat and put these under the broiler to melt the cheese and get it a little golden brown.  Nom.

Now is also a good time to reduce the balsamic vinegar if you so desire.  Again, I urge you to desire.  Simmer it over low heat until it thickens and reaches a syrup-y consistency.

Let's chiffonade some basil.  Basil is probably the easiest thing to chiffonade, and chiffonade just means cut into little strips.  Stack your basil leaves on top of each other, and roll them together tightly.

 Okay, my basil could be a little tighter than shown in the picture, and it probably was when I cut it.  It came out pretty, I promise.  Anyway, your basil I'm sure is perfectly tight (don't strangle it though, it didn't do anything to you).  Make little slices from tip to tip or moving right to left, however you prefer to think of it.
Ta-da!  Lovely strips of basil.  Boo-ti-ful.

Your cheesy bread is probably ready by now, and so is the balsamic reduction that's been going.  If not, let it percolate. I'll wait.

Okay now, it's time to assemble this bad boy.  Or bad boys, rather.  Don't burn your fingers like I did.  Ouchies.  Arrange the bruschetta on the plate or platter you'll be serving it on.
Note: I do know not to end a sentence in a preposition, but I really didn't feel like instructing you to"arrange the bruschetta on the platter on which you'll be serving it."  I really hope my high school English teacher, Mrs. Gordon, can forgive me.

If my bad grammar juju didn't completely turn you off this dish, place a slice of tomato onto each bruschetta.  Because my slices of bread were on the smaller side, half a slice of tomato covered my bread nicely.  If you have bigger slices of bread, use more tomato.

Sprinkle that lovely basil on top of each slice.  It makes for pretty garnish on the plate as well.  Give your dish a nice sprinkle of sea salt and pepper.  I'm a fan of those ginormous salt and pepper grinders.  Freshly cracked pepper just has such a nice bite to it.

Drizzle the balsamic reduction on top of the bruschetta.  Don't be shy, let it run onto the sides and settle into the plate so the bottom of the bread can soak up some of that goodness.  Another drizzle of olive oil on top will finish it off (go on, it's good for you!).  Peer pressure.

And that, is a wonderful use of a tomato.  

No comments:

Post a Comment