the night of the bruschetta

When Andrew’s away, the vegetarians will play.

If you haven’t figured out by now, my carnivore hubby isn’t nearly as enthusiastic about eggplant and greens as, say, you and me. So when the film buff headed out to see True Grit, I invited my veggie-loving in-laws over for a grilled feast.

You remember my new grill pan, right?

There’s no need to blather on with introductions, trust me this was a memorable meal. Let’s jump right into a sweet winter salad and some simple recipes with a light fits-just-right-into-your-new-year’s-resolution supper. (Not to mention enjoying the juiciest version of Blackberry on at the market).

Lindsey’s Own Citrus Winter Salad

I improvised this dressing with my cabinet findings. I strongly recommend these ingredients for sweet shallot-infused success, but you’ll find substitutions in italics that feature similar flavors.

baby arugula (or baby spinach)

1 tsp. agave nectar (or sugar)

1 medium shallot, sliced very thin

1 navel orange

1/2 tsp. sugar

1 tbsp. grapeseed oil (or canola)

6 oz. blackberries

for my favorite new Linvented dressing:

Zest 1 tsp. of the orange rind and toss with the sugar in a small bowl. Cut the orange in half. Set one half of the orange aside, and juice the other into a bowl. Into the orange juice, whisk the grapeseed oil, agave nectar, sugared rind, and sliced shallots. Taste and adjust if needed, whisking in more agave nectar to thicken and sweeten.

for the salad:

Keep the orange cut side down on your board. With a small sharp knife, remove the entire peel from the remaining orange half—especially the white pith. Segment the orange and combine with the baby arugula and blackberries. Just before serving, toss with the dressing, zest and shallots. (Arugula is a delicate lettuce, so only dress the leaves to be immediately consumed. Reserve the rest.)

Onto the main event… grilled bruschetta.

White Bean Bruschetta

adapted from Weber’s Big Book of Grilling (2001)

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (more recommended)

2 tsp. finely chopped oregano (optional)

4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped fine

1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2 tsp. red wine vinegar

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

for the topping:

In a medium saute pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano (if using) and cook one minute more. Add the beans and vinegar and cook until mixture simmers.

 Transfer to a food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and stir in parsley.

Now trust me that you could easily enjoy this dip with crackers, veggie sticks, etc. But it’s really, really, really delicious on grilled bread.

For all the bruschetta recipes here, you’ll need a pastry or silicone brush plus

1 loaf rustic Italian bread, cut into 1-inch slices

1 tsp. olive oil

 Brush a very light layer of olive oil on each side of the bread. Grill about 3 minutes per side on direct medium heat, or until golden.

Sweet Pepper and Eggplant Bruschetta

1 jar roasted red bell peppers, chopped fine

2 medium japanese eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices

extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup basil, sliced thin

2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

8 oz. fresh goat cheese

Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil and grill over direct medium heat until soft and browned, about 6 minutes. Turn and baste with oil halfway through cooking time. Transfer to a cutting board and dice small. Add to the peppers along with the remaining topping ingredients, salt and pepper to taste.

Grill the bread slices, as above, and spread a layer of goat cheese on each slice while the bread is still hot. Spoon the vegetable mixture  on top and serve warm or at room temperature.

I hope you also enjoy a bruschetta party, with lots of grilled bread and an assortment of these simple, delectable toppings. Salad on the side to round out a satisfying veggie-lovers meal.

On a separate note…

Perhaps you’re thinking today’s photos are slightly more crisp than the usual? I’m playing around with a friend’s Nikon D100 today and am looking to purchase a DSLR. Suggestions my fellow readers??? I’m currently swayed by the Nikon 3100. Please leave your input, I know much more about green beans than cameras.

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Filed under dinners, health

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