Breaking Bread: Bruschetta two ways – tomato & grilled mushroom.
Crispy, aromatic bread for the right chew. A soft and silky layer of creamy ricotta or rich and smoky bacon grease. And two different subtle but delicious toppings. This take on the italian classic might not be quite conventional, but who really cares when it is so delicious and simple to make. Sweet tomatoes, the comfort of garlic and the vibrance of basil for one, savoury and slightly smoky mushrooms, with depth of grilled onions and the punch of parsley. The secret to this dish is in the bread – and a little bit of patience. But who if not yourself is worth a little treat every now and then.
Germans love bread. We do. And we often don’t notice how true this stereotype is until we’ve lived abroad long enough to miss it. So whenever I can get my hands on a decent loaf of sourdough my heart misses a beat. There is something comforting and especially nourishing in a good, thick slice of fresh bread. With ingredients this good almost no work on your behalf is required, just assemble the few bits and pieces and allow yourself to be nourished.
While any good piece of bread will do – I think that a good, strong sourdough is most appropriate for this kind of recipe, maybe you’ll have to look around a bit – but lately it seems that many places have started to sell this more deeply aromatic loaf. I urge you to make the effort – it will be worth all your troubles. For both recipes briefly roast or toast the bread ( I usually give it into my hot griddle pan for a couple of minutes on each side). For the second recipe I use left-over bacon grease, simply because I have it available and try to produce as little waste as possible – conventional lard or schmalz will do too (or just salted butter, if you have neither).
- ripe and aromatic tomatoes (experiment with different varieties, small specimen tend to be most aromatic)
- fresh basil (as much as you’d like)
- fresh garlic (again, knock yourself out)
- olive oil
- Chop up the tomatoes, coarsely chop the basil, add both to a bowl. Press or grind in a bit of fresh garlic, add a dash or two of olive oil (it supposed to coat it slightly) and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Spread the ricotta onto the roasted slice of bread, top with the tomatoes and enjoy.
Bruschetta topped with grilled mushrooms
- fresh garlic
- bacon grease, lard, or schmalz
- fresh parsley
- olive oil
- lemon juice
- Slice the mushroom into thick slices and coat, in a bowl, with olive oil, grind or press in a little fresh garlic and season with salt. Slice the shallot into wedges, and add to the bowl. Mix and give into a hot griddle pan (a conventional non-stick pan can do a job almost as good). Grill until cooked and slightly charred. Add some freshly ground pepper and a bit of lemon juice.
- Spread bacon grease onto the roasted slice of bread, add salt and pepper. And top with the mushroom and onions. Sprinkle with some chopped parsley and enjoy.