Welcome to my table! It’s in my bones to cook Italian and Mediterranean style dishes. Why I love Italian cuisine is because the simplest, purest ingredients can make the most delicious dishes. The antipasto course begins the ritual of any large Italian meal and jumps off the dining experience. Traditionally, it’s followed by not one, but two courses and then dessert! But, if your antipasto is large, you can always skip the multiple courses.
This week, I made a delicious bruschetta (pronounced bru-sket-a) with grilled Pugliese bread and roasted cherry tomatoes with herbs and garlic. You can use anything from simple oil and sea salt to grilled vegetables and mushrooms as a topping. But, I happen to love tomatoes for both their rich and sweet flavor and I slow roast the tomatoes for as long as possible for maximum flavor.
A good bruschetta is made with hearty Italian loaf style bread, while crostini are small rounds from skinny baguette bread. Bruschetta is usually grilled, but crostini bread is not. They are a wonderful antipasto dish to serve to guests alongside melon and prosciutto or a plate of assorted cheeses. There are no rules as far as toppings you use on bruschetta or crostini. Let the season inspire you for ingredients and these “little crusts” can be any creation of your choice.
Roasted Tomatoes (serves approximately 8 to 10)
60 or so cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary or 1 ½ tablespoons dried
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 ½ tablespoons dried
3 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves or 1 ½ tablespoons dried
5 garlic cloves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Arrange the tomatoes cut side up on a 12×16-inch parchment-lined sheet pan. Drizzle the olive oil over them, scatter the herbs and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Bake approximately 2 hours turning the tomatoes once.
Preparing the Bruschette or Crostini
Grill or broil slices of Italian loaf bread. Gently rub one side of the bread with garlic. Sprinkle or brush olive oil across the each slice. Sprinkle with sea salt. Arrange with toppings.
Light to medium bodied red wine: Syrah, Rhone Blends, Sangiovese, Chianti
Light to medium bodies white wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio
Photo Credit: Joe Ercoli @ anvilimage.com