Meatless Monday: Bruschetta with Tomato, Basil and Pecorino

Appetizers, Italian, Meatless / Monday, November 23rd, 2009


So, if you’re looking for a full-blown meatless meal, I got all antsy and posted these Wild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Quesadillas with Cranberry-Pecan Salsa a few days early. I couldn’t help it.

But today I wanted to share this Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil. I mean, it’s basically glorified toast, but it’s far from boring. Thin baguette slices brushed with olive oil, toasted, rubbed with garlic, topped with a tomato-basil mixture and whisper-thin pecorino and toasted a second time, just until the cheese melts.

These were our appetizer of choice last summer (especially when the grilling was taking a little long), but the red of the tomato and green of the basil would suit any holiday table.

Don’t worry that the tomatoes aren’t at their peak. They’ll be so drunk with red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar that they’ll have plenty of flavor.

Once you start making bruschetta, you’ll find that it’s pretty addictive to try different toppings. Fresh herbs mixed with olive oil. White beans, tomato and rosemary. Garlicky spinach and gouda. Red onions and portobello mushrooms. Roasted red peppers and goat cheese. A slice or two (or seven) paired with a big bowl of soup can make a perfect lunch. Especially when you’ve been feeling a little guilty about all the grilled cheese sandwiches.

Not that I am.


Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil

Adapted from Ina Garten (“Barefoot Contessa,” Food Network)

Servings: 18 slices

  • 6 to 9 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons balsamic (or red wine) vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Baguette
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pecorino Romano, at room temperature, thinly sliced
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, basil, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Slice the baguette crosswise into 18 thin round slices. Brush the bread rounds lightly with olive oil on 1 side. Arrange them in rows, oil side up, on the prepared sheet pan and toast in the oven until lightly browned, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  4. Rub both sides of hot bread with garlic.
  5. Top each toast round with a few spoonfuls of the tomato mixture and Pecorino. Return the toast to the oven for 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

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