Italian Bruschetta Recipes – Delicious Snacks and Light Meals on Summer Days
I was searching for a birthday gift for Philippe and good friend Sara recommended I offer him a cooking lesson. She knew Franco Taruschio, acclaimed chef and former owner of the famous Walnut Tree Inn restaurant in Wales and got in touch. Franco and his wife Ann are passionate about cooking and they offer cooking classes in his home region of Le Marche in Italy and sometimes in Wales. We were lucky enough to join him for a cooking class on Sunday where we learned how to make Bruschetta, the delicious toasted bread with toppings from Italy and Asparagus Lasagne from scratch.
Bruschetta is bread toasted on a grill which forms a ridge pattern. Crostini/Crostoni are similar, either toasted under the grill or fried in olive oil or butter. . They are simple versatile dishes that can be eatern as a snack, an antipasto or a light meal. They are meant to be enjoyed with ‘allegria’ with wine and conversation.
During these warm days of August, they’re an excellent idea for a picnic, or a quick meal. Make the bruschetta in advance, freeze the slices and take out as needed. Find several favorite recipes below.
Our Italian cooking lesson: We drove to the beautiful Welsh town of Abergavanny and spent a delightful evening exploring the area. Wales is full of castles and beautiful green rolling hills.
Franco and Ann divide their time between the charming town of Abergavenny in Wales and the beautiful Le Marche region of Italy.
We met Franco and Ann the following morning and Franco took us thorugh our paces over the next 4 hours. We learned how to make pasta, lasagne, bruschetta, biscotti and the famous Marchese fish stew called Brodetto. We ate so many delicious side dishes that he showed us during the cooking lesson, that we weren’t even hungry for lunch!
If you’re interested in Franco’s cooking course in Italy, the next series will take place from October 22 to 29, 2011 including luxury accomodation, food and drink at the four star Gallery Hotel Recanati, not far from Ancona Airport. Le Marche is a beautiful region of Italy– not far from Tuscany with beautiful countryside, rolling hills and lots to do: golf, discount Italian designer outlets, relaxing on the beach, discovering how olive oil is made and touring vineyards. It’s a terrific and relaxing vacation idea. To find out more, click on this link: http://www.gustoinfinito.it/ or email: [email protected]
Bruschetta or Crostini originated in central Italy and has spread throughout the world. It’s typically Italian dish, because it doesn’t waste any food. You start with day old bread, toast on a grill and rub with garlic while warm. Then season with sea salt and extra virgin olive oil.
A good idea: don’t throw out your stale baguettes anymore. Slice diagonally half an inch thick and toast on a grill in the oven until golden. Rub with garlic, sprinkle with sea salt. Store them in the freezer to use as needed.
The nice thing about crostini is they are delicious with any topping that appeals to you – from slices of salami to various tomatoes and other toppings, goat’s cheese and walnuts, tuna and anchovies, sun dried tomatoes and spinach, mozzarella and anchovies… it’s an unending list.
Here are 4 delicious crostini recipes; excellent in place of sandwiches.
Crostini with Tuna and Olive Tapenade: Serves 6
6 slices bread for crostini
2 heaped tablespoons salted capers
24 black olives, pitted
8 anchovy fillets
2 oz canned tuna in oil, drained
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
6 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
Rinse the capers thoroughly and ry. Put the capers, olives, anchovies and tuna into a food processor. Process until smooth. Add the extra virgin olive oil a little at a time while processing. Add the lemon juice and season with freshly ground black pepper.
Toast the bread on a griddle. Spread the tapenade on top and layer the slides of egg on top of the tapenade. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley and serve at once.
Bruschetta with Grilled Peppers Serves 4
4 slices bread for bruschetta
1 large yellow pepper
1 large red sweet pepper
1 large green pepper
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin oliver oil
Skin the peppers by holding them over a high gas flame to char the skins. Make sure all the skin is removed. Cut peppers into 4 and remove the seeds and ribs. Place in a shallow dish and season ith the garlic, parsley, salt, ground pepper and a lieral amount of oliver oil. Let marinate for 3 hours.
Toast the bread on a griddle and distribute the peppers over bruschetta.
Crostini with Avocado and Prawns: Serves 4
Hint: if the avocado mixture isn’t going to be used immediately, place the avocado stone in the middle of the sauce to prevent it from going black. Cover tightly.
4 slices bread for crostini
2 medium avocadoes
8 large cooked prawns (large shrimp)
50 g (3 ½ Tbsp) mascarpone
Juice of ½ lemon
Sand freshly gournd white pepper
1 tbsp finely chopped chives
Process the avocado pulp with the mascarpone. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Lightly toast the bread under a grill. Spread the avocado mixture on each toast and place 2 peeled prawns on top. Sprinkle with finely chopped chives. Serve.
Crostini With Tuna Puree – Serves 4
4 slices bread for crostini
6 oz can of tuna
1 Tbsp salted capers, rinsed and dried
4 anchovy fillets
6 Tbsp mayonnaise or crème fraiche (we prefer crème fraiche)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
Process the tuna, capers and anchovies together. Mix in the mayonnaise (crème fraiche) and add the lemon juice and parsley. Toast the bread on a griddle and spread with the tuna puree.