Bruschetta Platter

Taking great pictures is not my forte. I keep getting rejected by websites like Tastespotting and Foodgawker just because I can't get the composition in my photographs right. But on the other hand, I keep hearing from fellow foodies and friends that the pics I put up makes them hungry! So thats gotta count for something, right?! I am trying to work on my photography skills, maybe will even enroll for some photography classes if I can...but for the time being will continue posting with my 'amateurish' shots. I do welcome all kinds of suggestions, advice and constructive criticism that you might have to offer with regards to food and photography. Indulge me a little because despite the okay-ish photography, the food, like always, will taste great!

The other day I was at my vegetable vendor's and we were talking about cherry tomatoes. He normally doesn't keep them on hand, but if a customer asks for them, he can arrange to get them specially. And you know me, I can't stay away from something as pretty. So yes, I asked him to specially order them for me. And not just a pint or a quart or a pound...but a whole kilo. I know I know... I probably should've ordered just about a pound, but I had to go ahead and purchase a whole kilo of them! And I didn't even know what I'd end up making with them. I hadn't planned anything specific. Just knew that I wanted to use those pretty little red coloured, firm, juicy, sweet tomatoes. So these last few days, I have been using them in a few things one of which is a bruschetta platter.

I love bruschetta. Its a great party food. I like how you can have a variety of bruschetta and its so much fun to make them. and I like food to be an interactive process. None of that you eat from your plate, I'll eat from my plate kind of thing for me. I like the food to be like a medium for two people to communicate with each other.  So I thought, why not make an assorted bruschetta platter where everyone can chose their own toppings and have a little bit of family fun in the evening!

I made 4 kinds of bruschetta.

  • Chunky cherry tomatoes with dressing and mozarella cheese cubes
  • Pesto with slow roasted tomatoes and caramalized onions
  • Seared chicken with red capsicum and basil
  • Cheesy bread with olives, capers, basil chiffonade and yellow capsicum
They were all so delicious. You could probably combine them all or make different combinations of them and just have fun. 

Serves: 4-6

Time taken: 45 mins (almost all the time is spent in just assembling)

Complexity: **

For the Bruschetta you'll need

2 Baguettes/ type bread- preferably with hard crust/ a day old stale bread works well too
2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
1 cup slow roasted tomatoes/ readymade sun dried tomatoes
1 large chicken breast
1 red capsicum cut into small dices
1 yellow capsicum cut into small dices
cup of black pitted and sliced lives
2-3 tbsp of capers
15-20 basil leaves
5-6 tbsp olive oil, divided
mozzarella cheese cut into cubes of about 1 cm
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp dried oregano
juice of 1 lemon
5-6 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of love for all of them! ;)

For Pesto you'll need

Cupful of basil leaves
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
15-20 pine nuts
4-5 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp olive oil

To make Pesto, clean the basil leaves, and combine with other ingredients to grind. You can use a mortar and pestle which I did since it is the traditional way of making pesto. But take care while grinding because the juice tends to get get on your clothes while you're grinding them. You can blend them all together in a blender. Double the quantity if you like. It depends on you as to what type of consistency you want for your pesto. You can have a smooth paste or you can have it coarsely ground. This will give you about a cup of pesto.

For grilling the chicken, I marinated the chicken with oregano, lemon zest and lemon juice.

I used a skillet on medium heat to cook it. Drizzle about a tbsp of olive oil or use spray to coat the skillet, season with salt and pepper on one side of the chicken breast and place the chicken, seasoned side down in the skillet. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the other side as well and after 3-4 minutes of cooking chicken on one side, turn the chicken breast. Cook it for another 3-4 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken breast and take it off.

You can also fry some garlic slices to put with chicken shreds. Pull out shreds of the chicken carefully because it will be hot. Add the red capsicum dices to it along with hand torn pieces of basil leaves. Set aside

For the second Bruschetta

For dressing the cherry tomatoes, cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Drizzle half the olive oil which is 2-3 spoons. Add salt, freshly ground pepper, juice of half a lemon, parsley and oregano.Add minced garlic. Make a basil chiffonade with about 7-8 leaves.

To make chiffonade, layer basil leaves on top of each other, roll them like a cigar, cut into thin ribbons. But use this quickly because basil will turn black as soon as metal cuts through it. Add the mozzarella cheese cubes to this and set aside.

For Third Bruschetta

For Olive and Capers, combine them both, add diced yellow capsicum and a few torn basil leaves or a basil chiffonade. Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil. This will be spooned on cheesy bread slices.

For Fourth Bruschetta

For Pesto bruschetta, you will need sun dried or slow roasted tomatoes. Caramalize one onion in 1 tbsp of olive oil on medium flame in the same skillet that you used for your chicken. Adds more flavour to the onion.

To assemble Bruschetta, Grate cheese on a few slices of bread. I used cheddar. Make sure you slice the baguette in no more than 1" thick slices. Toast these in an oven till cheese turns golden. Take it out and set aside. Toast the other pieces of bread in the oven till they are almost crisp on one side.

Chose how you want to dress these beautiful golden babies. Bring a heap of the bread. Your food- fun platter is ready!!  Do make sure you serve them with good extra virgin olive oil. Indulge! :))


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