February 22, 2010

February 22 THE MONDAY MENU Bruschetta

When I cater a party one of my favorite hors d' oeuvres to make is bruschetta. Bruschetta (pronounced bru-sketta) is a simple Italian dish that dates back to the 15th century, and can be made in a variety of ways.

The dish begins with drizzling or brushing olive oil onto thin narrow strips of bread (preferably ciabatta) and toasting them. Once toasted the bread is then rubbed with fresh garlic and topped with just about anything. My favorite bruschetta toppings are those with a Mediterranean flavor to include feta cheese, olives, and fresh tomatoes.

Truly you are only limited by your imagination as to what type of bruschetta you can make. Today I offer you one of my favorite bruschetta recipes, and of course on the internet there are literally hundreds of others. My challenge to you is to decide for yourself the flavors you like, and share them with your friends at your next party.

Conversation starter: If you were to attend a party where there would be celebrities present, who would you like to bump into, and what would you say to that person?

Mediterranean Bruschetta

Bread preparation:

1 pound ciabatta bread loaf sliced on a bias into 1/2 inch wide slices.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove fresh garlic

Preheat grill pan on stove top over medium-high heat, or preheat charcoal or gas grill to medium. Brush olive oil onto sliced bread and grill on both sides. Remove from heat and lightly rub with peeled garlic clove.

Topping Preparation:

2 large tomatoes seeded and diced
3 tablespoons finely minced fresh mint leaves
1 - 15 ounce container of whole milk Ricotta cheese
Juice from 1 medium lemon
Kosher salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl, carefully and thoroughly mix ingredients together.

To serve add a spoonful of topping to each piece of bread to make a beautiful ornate hors d' oeuvres platter, or place the grilled ciabatta bread in a basket and the topping in a serving dish and let guests spoon on their own topping. Yield is 12-15 pieces.

Suggested variations:

Combine 2 large diced tomatoes, 2 cups finely chopped raw spinach, 1/4 cup sliced black olives, 1/4 cup Feta cheese and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Or substitute tomatoes with 2 fresh red peppers, grilled, seeded and peeled, cut into thin, narrow strips. Salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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