Saturday, 31 August 2013

Bruschetta 3 ways

My first encounter with bruschetta was in fact in Spain or Cataluña to be correct, in a small restaurant just north of Altafulla, where friends and I kept ordering more and more pan Catalan, which is in effect the version of bruschetta enjoyed there. The bread, good sourdough, robust and full of air holes was toasted on an open flame grill. Each slice was rubbed first with a clove of raw garlic before being rubbed with a squashed raw tomato and finally being bathed in olive oil and salt flakes. I am fortunate enough to have enjoyed meals in many fine establishments over the years, but few experiences bring back a longing as much as the evening we spent at that Catalan table.

I, these days use my bread, especially on day 3 or 4 to make bruschetta, sometimes enjoying the Catalan version, sometimes employing more of an Italian approach and adding whatever topping comes to mind. Here are 3 suggestions.

Topping 1
you will need;
500g of heritage tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of white balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons of olive oil
6 basil leaves

Cut up the tomatoes into smallish pieces. mix with the other ingredients and leave to marinade for half and hour

Topping 2
you will need;
300g of cooked chickpeas crushed
200g of gorgonzola or St Agur cheese
Coarsely ground black pepper

Topping 3
Roasted beetroot and carrot click here for the recipe
200g of feta cheese

Heat up a griddle and toast thick slices of good bread until each slice is browned and has the odd charred edge. Doing this on a hot barbeque produces an even better result. While each slice is hot, rub with a clove of garlic cut in half, the toasted bread will be abrasive and you'll find the clove lasts only for 4 or 5 slices, depending on the size of the clove and the vigour with which you rub. If you wish to make pan Catalan, simply rub the surface now with a squashed ripe tomato and drizzle with good olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt flakes. Otherwise top each slice with any of the above toppings or a topping of your choice. Leave the drizzle of olive oil to the very end.

If the evening is hot, the beer or white wine is cold, there can be few things that will delight friends more than an endless supply of these simple treats.

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