This summer, a trip to an amazing foccaceria in Sarzana, inspired us to make an aperitivo of varied bruschette. This is a great and fun dinner that is easy to throw together for yourself or for a party and the possibilities are limited only by your imagination!
We sliced a rustic loaf lengthwise which gave us 4 long slices for the bruschetta and toasted them lightly in the oven. First we made the classic caprese, with fresh cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. I sliced everything in halves, mixed them with some fresh extra virgin olive oil, slivered fresh basil leaves, salt and pepper. The Italian way to add garlic to bruschetta is to gently rub a clove over the toasted bread. This will give a nice garlic flavor without loading the topping with garlic. I spread the mix out on the bread and garnished with whole basil leaves and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
Then my husband popped open a can of cannelini beans, rinsed and drained them well and mixed them with a can of Italian tuna in oil (a bit pricey outside of Italy, but far superior in flavor), a generous sprinkling of black pepper, a splash of cider vinegar for acidity, a pinch of salt and sliced scallions. This was his creation on a whim and though it may not sound very delicious, it wound up being our favorite.
My creation was layering slices of scamorza (smoked mozzarella) and cherry preserves. I heated the scamorza in the oven until just melted and while still hot, scooped fresh cherry preserves on top. Super simple, but with a woodsy, smoked flavor and the tart and sweet cherry, it was delightful!
The last bruschetta was topped with baby arugula tossed with the remaining cherry tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, black pepper and shaved, aged parmigiano.
Another great addition to an aperitivo menu is cubes of aged parmigiano with fig jam. The combination of salty, savory and sweet is quite literally a party in your mouth!
Slice up the bruschette into small pieces and serve all together with some fresh fruit and few chips/crisps. You will have the perfect spread for a successful and filling aperitivo/dinner. Mix up some Aperol Spritz' and you'll have the real, authentic Italian aperitivo experience! For the Spritz recipe, click here.