Monday, January 09, 2012

Missing Summer- Gourmet Bruschetta

Yes, I know, snow is beautiful, the fire places are warm, the hot chocolate is heart warming but how much of it can you really take!

I am missing Summers. I know they're not far away, and then I will be missing these beautiful winters, but right now, amidst the dropping temperatures, I am craving for the bright sunlight to fall on my cheeks and my eyes eagerly await brighter and bluer skies. 

I wish that I could, with a swish of a wand and magical words like abracadabra, I could change the seasons as and when I wanted to. That would be totally fun, won't it?! My most favourite would have to be spring though. What would be yours? 

Oh well, but I can't really do that, now can I! So I decided to make something that would remind me of summers. Something that was light to eat with refreshing flavours. 

So, ladies and gentlemen...(drum roll).... I bring to you my gourmet version of Bruschetta with a side of fruits. 




It is really very simple to make and its so delicious, trust me, all the little effort that goes into making it, is absolutely worth it. You'll thank me later when you eat it, I promise you that! 

All you need is to collect a few ingredients and prepare a little in advance and you'll take no time to prepare this fresh Gourmet style Bruschetta. You can choose to serve it as antipasti or as the main course itself. It was my lunch and I ravenously gorged on it. I tell you, all my favourite flavours so perfectly combined and I bit into it quite unceremoniously and the deliciousness of it all even surprised me! Even as I'm writing this, I'm already getting it ready again so I can have it today for lunch too. 

On to it then, shall we? 

Serves: 4

Time taken: 20 mins + roasting time for tomatoes

Complexity: **

You'll need

one loaf of a day old bread (not too hard)
butter to apply on bread
2 garlic cloves
1 yellow capsicum, thinly sliced horizontally

For Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Pint of cherry tomatoes
Italian herb seasoning
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder, or grated garlic
olive oil to drizzle

For Tapenade 

2-3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 cup of black or kalamata olives, drained and pitted
1 tbsp capers, drained
1/2 tsp salt
some freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For Basil Paste

bunch of Fresh basil leaves
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


A Pinch of your love


Method

You can either choose to use store bought sun dried tomatoes or you can slow roast tomatoes at your own home. I always slow roast them at home because I am simply in love with the intensity of flavour and the freshness of the ingredients, not to mention the lack of preservatives or the amount of oil, sodium that go into the store bought version. But still, it is your choice. To make these at home, 

Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves. 



Drizzle some olive oil over it. Sprinkle the herbs and spices. Season with salt. Add garlic powder to it or simply grate a couple of garlic cloves over the halved tomatoes. Mix well. Transfer to a baking tray and let them roast in the oven at 120C or 230F for a couple of hours. 


After an hour....still in the oven


And after 2 hours, bring them out and let them cool a while. 


Aren't they positively gorgeous?! Can you imagine the flavour of these? The aroma while they are slowly roasting away to glory is insanely tempting. Absolutely drool worthy. 



**Note: If you want to save these for later use, you can put them in an air tight container and drizzle a couple spoons of olive oil and store in the fridge. Use at our own convenience in pastas, sandwiches, sauces- whatever catches your fancy. 

For the Tapenade, take the olives, capers, garlic, salt and pepper and grind them to form a coarse paste. 



Then add in the olive oil to give it a spreadable consistency. 



For the Basil Paste, take the bunch of basil leaves and coarsely grind them in a mortar and a pestle. Keep adding the olive oil little by little. The colours of the leaves will darken immediately almost akin to the colour of the tapenade. 

Lastly take your bread and cut into slices of 1 cm thickness. Butter the bread slices but don't be too generous. We don't want it to taste all buttery. Use a panini press to grill the bread. 

The buttered pieces ready to be grilled. I could have simply grilled the bread but the panini press helped me to thin out the bread a little. You could simply cut the slices a little thinner and grill it. 



The bread's ready in a couple of minutes.


As soon as the bread's grilled, rub a garlic clove over it while it is still warm. The bread will quickly absorb the garlicky flavour and lets be honest, no bruschetta is complete without a generous amount of garlic in it. 

To assemble, start the layering process. 

Take a piece of the bread, spread tapenade over it. Place a slice of yellow capsicum.



Now add a few slow roasted cherry tomatoes. Looks great already, doesn't it?! 



Repeat the same layering again. Lastly place a third slice of bread, and spread the basil paste over it. Again add a few tomatoes. 



Garnish with some basil paste around the beautiful tower and place some fresh basil over the bruschetta. 



Simple and yet so flavourful. The very humble bruschetta served Ki style! :) Don't forget to dust your pinch of love over it...  


I served the bruschetta with a side of fruits. I had pineapples, strawberries, kiwis and grapes lying at home. So I made fresh fruit skewers with them. And for a little indulgence, I dipped the strawberries into some melted dark chocolate. Simply melt the chocolate in the microwave for about 40 secs and gave it a stir. Dip the strawberries and pop them in the fridge for 5 mins till the chocolate sets. 


Use the fruits of your choice, let your imagination run wild and have fun! Indulge! :) 









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