Tag Archives: bruschetta

White Bean and Basil Bruschetta

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White Bean and Basil Bruschetta

I love the variety and flexibility of bruschetta. Served with a salad, fresh fruit, and a robust wine, this appetizer becomes a wonderfully light and satisfying main meal. As a variation, consider topping the beans with grilled radicchio, sauteed zucchini, or seared baby spinach and capers.

Ingredients:
2 c. cooked cannellini beans (or 2 15 oz. cans)
5 T. extra virgin olive oil
5 T. good quality balsamic vinegar
1 t. crushed red pepper flakes
3 T. basil leaves (chiffonade)
1-2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
salt and pepper
2-4 slices of day old rustic bread, grilled or toasted
Serves 2.

To prepare:
Mix olive oil, vinegar, and pepper flakes in a bowl. With a small whisk mix rapidly to emulsify into a creamy dressing. This should take about 15 seconds and insures that the emulsified dressing will coat the beans.

Add the garlic, then fold in the beans and basil, reserving a little of the basil for garnishing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside for a few minutes while you grill or toast the bread.

To assemble, spoon the beans onto toasted bread, drizzle with remaining dressing and sprinkle with fresh basil.

Note: When I can, I use fresh cannellini beans. They hold their shape and texture better than canned. If using canned beans, be sure to rinse them well, and handle them very gently. Canned beans have a softer texture and can quickly turn into a mash if mishandled.

Tofu Bruschetta

Tofu Bruschetta

Sometimes I surprise myself with a new spin on a favorite recipe. This past week, I made Tofu Cutlets using the basic recipe for Tofu Bites, which are just lightly fried crispy tofu, brushed with Tamari soy sauce and sprinkled with nutritional yeast. For the bruschetta, the tofu is cut into slices rather than into cubes, each slice about a quarter of an inch each.

We had a few absolutely beautiful and perfectly ripe tomatoes which we promptly forgot to put into a salad we made. So after sampling a few bites of the tofu we laid a slice of fresh tomato on top, a little salt and pepper and a touch of fresh cilantro. It was really delicious – very light with a nice blend of sweet, salty, and savory.

With a light drizzle of olive oil it transforms into bruschetta, but without the bread. The next night I was testing tofu recipes again. Starting with lightly fried pieces of tofu – about cracker size – I spooned on some of my homemade salsa and a slice of avocado. It was a great combination that would work well for those family members or guests who are sure they don’t like tofu. The robust tart flavor of the salsa on the crispy, almost cheesy, tofu squares were delicious and definitely on my list of “do agains.” Naturally I had to try this out on my non-veg friends and it was a hit. This is a great example of how just knowing a few good recipes opens the door to endless possibilities.

Traditional Italian Garlic Bread

Traditional Italian Garlic Bread

Most garlic bread in America is prepared using a soft “Italian” loaf that is layered with hefty amounts of butter, oil, salt, and dried herbs. After baking, it’s literally dripping with fat. Italians on the other hand usually only serve plain bread at the table, and most Italian breads are unsalted, especially in Tuscany. My version, a twist on both ideas, is simple to make, light, and delicious to eat. Using hearty bread, fruity olive oil and fresh garlic, this is a recipe you’ll use over and over.

Ingredients:
1 loaf Tuscan style bread (firm dense bread is essential)
Olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled, left whole
Kosher salt

To prepare:
Slice the bread into 1-inch thick slices. Grill, broil, or toast both sides of the slices until they’re lightly browned, but still retain a little spring to the center. While the slice is still hot, take the peeled clove of garlic and gently rub the surface of the bread, concentrating on the outer edge next to the crust. The pressure you use rubbing the garlic on the sliced bread will determine the depth of garlic flavor, so go lightly if you want less garlic. Next, lay the slices on a sheet pan and drizzle them with olive oil. Add a sprinkle of salt and enjoy.

Serve accompanying any entrée or use as your canvas for a wide varities of bruschetta toppings. A slice of this bread is also wonderful placed in the bottom of a bowl with your favorite soup spooned over it.

Any dense loaf of bread works for this recipe, including whole wheat, multi-grain, and French baguettes. Slice a thin baguette into rounds and you have instant crostini, for appetizers or soups.