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Bruschetta & Crostini Recipe

Three ways to try this Italian classic.

Ingredients

Roasted Tomato

This is your ace. In summer, the trio of chopped, luscious tomatoes, olive oil and fresh herbs sings the national anthem. In winter, canned or boxed tomatoes attain a new depth of flavour during a long nap in the oven. The plump little darlings garnish a roast or, chopped, wake up a last-minute risotto or frittata. If you want heat, scatter a tablespoon of red pepper flakes over the tomatoes while cooking.

60 or so cherry tomatoes, halved, stem ends trimmed; or 25 medium tomatoes, quartered; or 3 28-oz. cans san marzano plum tomatoes, drained, cut into quarters
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp minced fresh rosemary or 1-1/2 tbsp dried
3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves or 1-1/2 tbsp dried
3 tbsp fresh oregano leaves or 1-1/2 tbsp dried
5 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Prepared bruschetta or crostini*

Grilled Red Radicchio

Small cubes of fontina or pecorino can be used with, or instead of, the prosciutto. This can be served, too, as a salad in whole leaves of the radicchio, which form pretty red cups.

1 head of red radicchio
2-3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 slices prosciutto, cut into slivers
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
Prepared bruschetta or crostini*

Pecorino & Nut

Beneath the cheese and nuts, you can slip thinly sliced salami or prosciutto.

8 slices pecorino or fontina
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
Prepared bruschetta or crostini*

* Preparing bruschetta and crostini: For bruschetta, grill or broil substantial slices of rustic Tuscan bread, brush with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt. If you like, spear a clove of garlic with one side cut and rub the cut side across the bread before adding the olive oil. I usually cut the bruschetta in half unless it’s being served at the table, because if you’re standing up, big bruschetta can be unruly. For crostini, cut a long skinny loaf into slices about 1/3″ thick. Toast them or not, depending on the topping.

Directions

Roasted Tomato

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200°F.

Step 2: Arrange the tomatoes cut side up on a parchment-lined 12″ x 16″ sheet pan. Drizzle the olive oil over them, scatter the herbs and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 2 hours, turning the tomatoes once.

Step 3: Coarsely chop the tomatoes for bruschetta, or simply press a tomato onto each crostino. Leftover tomatoes can be packed into jars, topped with olive oil and stored in the fridge for a week.

Grilled Red Radicchio

Step 1: Cut the radicchio head in two and put each half face down on a medium-heated grill. (You can, instead, use a 16″ stovetop grill pan.) Let the radicchio slightly brown, 3-4 minutes, then turn the halves over with tongs and grill the other side for 2-3 minutes.

Step 2: When cool, chop the radicchio and place it in a medium bowl. Douse with 2 tbsp of the olive oil, and stir in the prosciutto, seasonings and fennel seeds. Add a little more olive oil if it looks dry. Pile on the prepared bread.

Pecorino & Nut

Step 1: Preheat the broiler.

Step 2: Place a slice of pecorino and some walnuts on each piece of bread.

Step 3: Run under the broiler for a couple of minutes until slightly melted.

See more recipes from Frances and Edward Mayes.

Reprinted with permission from Frances and Edward Mayes’ The Tuscan Sun Cookbook (2012 Clarkson Potter).