Bruschetta

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BruschettaApr 16, 2010

Bruschetta [brus-ketta] ala Juan dela Cruz

Bruschetta is a summertime indulgence given the abundance (and lower price) of tomatoes, lettuce and basil. As an appetizer, it's iconic for central Italy's sun, countryside, and lifestyle. Traditionally, olive oil growers would bring country bread with them when they press the olives around November and December. They brush the bread with oil and heat them by the fireplace. They then rub garlic on the bread and top it with finely minced onions. Not only do they save an otherwise stale bread, but make a sumptuous appetizer.

This recipe adds a little twist to the traditional method. We substitute the best local equivalent to give it more edge and familiarity. A few ingredients were also added to highlight taste and plating.

Ingredients: (serving for 4) * these items are available (organic and very reasonably priced) at Sibol Store

    Dressing
  • 1 bulb native garlic (not the Taiwan variety
  • 1 labuyo (hot chili)*
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey*
  • 1 tbsp Sinamak vinegar*
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
    Main
  • 1 kilo tomatoes*
  • 1/4 block cheese
  • 4 pandesal
  • 1 cup fresh basil*
  • whole lettuce leaves (1 bunch)*

Preparation
Finely mince the garlic and chili. Combine with oil, vinegar, salt, honey and pepper. Leave to steep. Cut the tomatoes lengthwise, scoop the seeds and juice out. Set the seeds and juice aside. Chop the remaning tomatoes about slightly bigger than a thumb nail. Strain the tomatoes to minimize the liquid. Cube the cheese into 1/4 inch squares. Chop the basil but not too fine. When ready to eat, combine the tomatoes, basil and cheese to the dressing. Blend well.

Serving
Halve the pandesal crosswise and toast it. Rub a clove of garlic onto the bread surface, then layer a lettuce leaf over the bread. Put the tomato mix on the lettuce. Enjoy with wine! Oh yeah...the tomato seeds and juice. Substitute it for wine, if you can't get one. Seriously...it's a good drink.

Tips:
  • if you're around Quezon City Hall area, make the purchase at Sibol Store. You get the biggest organic bang for the buck! Trust me on this. That's where I get most of my needs.
  • use only the ripest tomatoes
  • you're not supposed to taste the honey in the dressing. If you do, then you got carried away. The honey brings an overall roundness to the taste...it's not supposed to sweeten the dressing.
  • get good quality pandesal. Pan de Pugon or Pan de Manila are good choices.
  • bruschetta is best enjoyed with chilled dry white wine (not sweet)
  • best cheese is mozzarella, but any grocery cheese will do
  • best to prepare the dressing even a day in advance to amalgamate and intensify all the flavors

Verdict
With a little dry white wine to wash it down, it's a satisfying light meal unto itself. Savor it on a balcony or under a tree shade....alfresco makes a difference.

--- TheLoneRider

Comments? Email webmaster@thelonerider.com

Reader Comments:

Dindo
(Apr 19, 2010) ...had a generous helping on your bruschetta in our last sit! very fresh veggies, rich in olive oil, good cheese, with a hint of heat in it. should be very nice with chilled white wine. btw, the last vipa sit in loyola grand villa was my first after a long hiatus (the last being Sept last year). cheers!


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