Sunday, August 14, 2011
Bruschetta is an antipasto from central Italy whose origin dates to at least the 15th century. It consists of roasted bread usually rubbed with garlic and topped with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. But there are many variations on this starter, much more than we're used to seeing, including toppings of beans and cured meats. Mine is the more traditional bruschetta. It's a great recipe for entertaining when you don't have a lot of time because so much of it can be done in advance, and it tastes better if you do!
10 oz. of cherry tomatoes
1/2 C. extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
3 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
1/4 t. fresh rosemary, finely minced
1/8 t. crushed red pepper
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 C. balsamic vinegar
extra basil leaves for garnish
The night before (although it doesn't need to be) mix together the olive oil, garlic, basil leaves, rosemary, crushed red pepper and sea salt in a bowl large enough to hold the oil mixture and all of the tomatoes. Slice each cherry tomato in half the length of the fruit and add them to the olive oil marinade. Cover and set aside until ready to serve.
Put the balsamic in small sauce pan and heat over a low setting until reduced to a thick syrup. This can also be done in advance.
When ready to serve, slice the baguette in to thin rounds. Grill the rounds if you can. The flavor is so much better. If you can't grill, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lay the rounds out on a cookie sheet. Toast the bread in the oven checking every few minutes so it doesn't get too dark.
Lay the grilled or toasted bread out onto a serving plate. Spoon the tomatoes and some of the olive oil over the top. Drizzle the reduced balsamic over or near the bruschetta. Add the whole basil leaves. Serve!