30 April 2012

Eats: (cheater's) bruschetta

You guys, it feels nearly miraculous that this post is coming to you this morning. Well, hopefully it’s coming to you this morning; perhaps I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. I know the behind-the-scenes at the blog isn’t interesting to anyone except me, but lately I can’t even log in to Blogger anymore from my usual browser (yes, helpful computer geeks, I updated my browser and reset my cookies, to no avail). WHISKY TANGO FOXTROT. My blog-posting routine, formerly down-pat, is shot. I’m so beyond wanting to thump Blogger on the forehead for not posting as scheduled. Now I’m filled a strong desire to issue a roundhouse kick to the throat.

Whew. Okay, just had to get that off my chest, and cover any possible weirdness. Moving on! I wish I had a super-amazing post for you to make my backstage-woe worth it, but alas, it is only regular amazing. Do not discount regular amazing, though! Especially when it’s bruschetta! And by regular amazing, I mean it’s incredibly simple (per my usual), Italian (you know how I love Italian), and part of our regular meal rotation. Mmmm.

I’m actually calling it “cheater’s bruschetta” for the simple reason that it uses these:

I know, fresh tomatoes are better. I know! And if you have them, by all means, use them! But for me, these cost like sixty cents a can year-round, I can’t taste that much of a difference in the finished product, and the only preparation they require is to drain them. I actually squeeze it out like so, using the lid to make sure all the juice is down the drain:

Once drained, I mix the tomatoes with – I’m estimating here, per usual – a pinch of sugar (to cut the acidity), a quarter-teaspoon of salt, a half-teaspoon of pepper, a half-tablespoon of oregano, a tablespoon of dried basil (again, use fresh, if you have it!), and a tablespoon-plus of minced garlic (which didn’t make it into the photo).

Sometimes I add balsamic vinegar, too, when I remember. Either way, stir it up and pop it in the fridge to marinate.

Ideally, you’ll let it marinate overnight – which is the amount of time it takes to make the other half of this recipe, a loaf of my favorite no-knead focaccia!

Honestly, this particular time I only let it rise eight hours (during the day) to make a thin base for the bruschetta (and the tomatoes marinated for less time, too). Sometimes I let it rise overnight to create a fluffier bread for the base. Your call! Both ways are tasty.

Once the bread is cut into squares, it’s just a matter of adding tomatoes on top, plus some shredded mozarella and parmesan:

Then popping them under the broiler (on high) until the cheese is all melty – about five to seven minutes, tops. And that’s it! I usually can make these at the end of prepping the rest of dinner, while I’m loading the prep dishes into the dishwasher.

Nearly every time I make a loaf of focaccia, I buy a can of tomatoes just so we can have bruschetta to help eat up the bread. It really helps make an otherwise simple meal, with grilled chicken and plain salad, seem really fancy...

Although, as usual, the wine helps too. Hope you enjoy!