Monday, July 23, 2012

Bruschetta! A Light Summery Version

It's been too long since I posted anything here, and for that I am truly sorry.  I enjoy the blog and hopefully my paltry readership does too.  So I've got a couple of things to write about and I'm going to try and get them up over the next few weeks.

First, I'd like to talk about bruschetta.  Some folks think of bruschetta as a specific dish - it is not.  Bruschetta can be prepared in a tremendous variety of ways and I've yet to meet one that was not delicious.  Some folks like the bread heavily charred, others barely toasted.  If you search the web for bruschetta recipes, you'll find thousands.

Today I have for you a very light bruschetta recipe (and I use that term loosely here) that goes very well with summertime backyard fare.  It's something you can take to a party and not worry about having to bring home any leftovers.  The inspiration for this dish was an appetizer at The Schooner in Netarts, Oregon.  They haven't served it for years and they served several variations over the years that they did serve it.

What you'll need:
Bread - in this case, a baguette is perfect.  The smaller the diameter of the slices, the better.  Two baguettes is better than one.

For the tapenade:
3-4 Roma tomatoes
4 cloves fresh garlic
13 Calmata Olives
Fresh basil - see picture, I have no idea how to measure this stuff
Olive oil (extra virgin, of course)
Kosher salt (any coarse salt will do)

You can toast the bread however you'd prefer.  I've tossed slices in a skillet with some olive oil and simply toasted one side.  I've taken the whole baguette and sliced it lengthwise then toasted the two halves over a charcoal grill before chopping into inch-and-a-half long pieces.  How you toast the bread is up to you, and on occasion I've even served it on fresh bread (not toasted).  Serving it on fresh bread would not technically be bruschetta, but it's still a tasty appetizer.

Chop the garlic finely.
Place in bowl and cover with oil:
Chop the olives finely:

A word about fresh basil.  The grocery stores here sell large bags of fresh organic basil that are usually more than you'd use in a single meal.  The best way to store the unused portion is to cut the stems underwater and leave them near a window.  They'll often sprout roots and thrive for weeks.

Add the olives to the bowl and chop some basil:

Add the basil to the bowl.  You many need to add a little more oil to cover everything.

Now you've got a decision to make regarding the tomatoes.  You can chop them up and add them to the tapenade or slice them thinly and leave them on the side.

When I took these pictures, we served the tomatoes on the side and used fresh bread.  By this time I had forgotten about taking pics for the blog.  I remembered at the last minute...

Sorry about the casual setting.

To serve: take a piece of bread, top with a slice of tomato, a dollop of tapenade, a sprinkle of salt and enjoy!