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Summer veggies, fruit perfect for bruschetta

SH13G185GRILLCARBS July 23 2013 -- Grilled Eggplant CaponatBruschettwith RicottSalata. (SHNS phoby Gretchen McKay / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) (Newscom TagID: shnsphotos147230.jpg) [PhoviNewscom]

SH13G185GRILLCARBS July 23, 2013 -- Grilled Eggplant Caponata Bruschetta with Ricotta Salata. (SHNS photo by Gretchen McKay / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) (Newscom TagID: shnsphotos147230.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]

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CLASSIC BRUSCHETTA

Serves four

3 to 4 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small handful basil, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Balsamic vinegar

Extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 baguette, halved lengthwise

Freshly ground Parmesan cheese

1. Combine chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil and parsley. Add a dash or 2 of balsamic vinegar and a few teaspoons of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper. Let sit for a while so flavors combine.

2. Grill bread on both sides until slightly charred, about 30 seconds per side. Remove from grill, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Top each half with the tomato mixture. Sprinkle a generous amount of Parmesan cheese on top. Slice crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices, and serve.

GRILLED EGGPLANT CAPONATA BRUSCHETTA WITH RICOTTA SALATA

This dish has both sweet and sour notes. It’s best to make the topping at least an hour before, so the flavors can meld. Ricotta salata is a Sicilian goat cheese that’s similar in texture to Greek feta. If you can’t find it in stores, simply substitute regular feta or another tangy, crumbly cheese.

1 large eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices

4 plum tomatoes

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large celery stalk, finely diced

1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1 cup white-wine vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup Sicilian green olives, pitted and chopped

1/4 cup golden raisins

2 tablespoons brined capers, drained

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1 loaf ciabatta, halved lengthwise

Extra-virgin olive oil

4 ounces ricotta salata cheese, grated

1) Heat your grill to high for direct grilling.

2) Brush eggplant and tomatoes with 1/4 cup of canola oil and season with salt and pepper. 3) Grill eggplant until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Grill tomatoes until charred all over, about 8 minutes. Remove both to a cutting board and dice.

4) Heat remaining 2 tablespoons canola oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.

5) Add celery, onion and pepper flakes and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar and sugar and boil until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add eggplant, tomatoes, olives and raisins and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in capers, parsley and basil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving. (Caponata can be made one day in advance and stored, covered, in fridge. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

6) Grill bread on both sides until slightly charred, about 30 seconds per side. Remove from grill, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Top each half with some of the eggplant caponata and sprinkle with ricotta salata. Slice crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices to serve.

Serves 4 to 6.

BRUSCHETTA OF CHERRY GOLD TOMATOES AND ANCHOVY

1 pint cherry tomatoes, preferably Sun Gold

1 clove garlic, grated or very finely minced

2-ounce can oil-packed anchovies, drained (reserve oil) and roughly chopped

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

12 small slices grilled Italian or French bread

Slice tomatoes in half. Combine them with garlic, anchovies with reserved oil, olive oil and a pinch of salt in a plastic bowl with a tight-fitting lid. Cover bowl and shake vigorously.

Spoon tomato mixture over freshly grilled bread and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

(Adapted from “Where There’s Smoke” by Barton Seaver (Sterling, $30)

Scripps Howard News Service

Updated: August 30, 2013 3:17PM



With fresh vegetables hitting farmers markets, what better way to whet summer appetites than by firing up the Weber for a quick and easy appetizer? You know you want to be outside after sitting behind a desk all day, and carbs on the grill are so much easier than you might think.

All you need to make the primo Italian dish bruschetta (pronounced “broo-SKE-tah”) is a loaf of crusty bread, some olive oil, a clove or two of garlic and a couple great toppings. That, and a sharp knife to cut the bread on the bias into thick, grillable slices and a pair of tongs so you don’t singe your fingertips when you’re crisping it to perfection on the hot grates.

It’s that easy.

I’d go so far as to argue that bruschetta is the backyard griller’s dream, because it looks and tastes absolutely amazing with so little work.

In its purest form, making bruschetta can be as simple as toasting a piece of bread on the grill or over a fire’s embers, rubbing it with a cut clove of garlic and then drizzling on top a fruity extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkling it with salt.

For a more substantial dish, thoughts immediately go to traditional diced-tomato-based toppings. But why stop there? Consider each slice of toasted bread as a crisp blank canvas, just waiting to be painted to life with an artist’s palette of different colors, textures and flavors. Savory, sweet, tangy, spicy — bruschetta lends itself to any number of ingredients and combinations. Everything from roasted peppers, mushrooms and eggplant to salty anchovies, delicate cheeses and fruit.

Any rustic, open-textured bread will work just fine for bruschetta, but keep in mind that it should be coarse enough that pools of olive oil can sit on the surface. It also should be sturdy so the toppings, which can be juicy, especially if tomatoes are involved, won’t drip through and end up on your chin or lap.

And if it rains? Simply brown up the bread under the broiler, toast it in a hot oven or do like I do in winter and fry it on the stove in a little olive oil. Magnifico!

Scripps Howard News Service



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