Bruschetta Three Ways, with Figs

One of the better things about growing up is that you start to make different kinds of friends: friends that can get excited with you about all the things you suppressed as a student, like your love of plants, dogs, or in this case, cooking. Along with a mutual love of flavour and texture, comes the unavoidable pressure to have to impress. You feel it in the air when you visit them; your hands shake a little when they come over to your place. Suddenly not being able to find fresh basil can become the little thing that pushes you over the edge into a screaming and crying fit of temporary insanity.

It is because I understand this pressure (heck, even live for it) that I share my never-fail solution with you: A trio of Bruchetta that has helped me kick off a night of culinary successes. It will light up your taste buds and sing kumbaya to it.

Bruschetta

Bruschetta, pronounced broo-sket-ta, is in its simplest form slices of freshly toasted bread, rubbed with garlic and topped with delicious savoury, or even sweet, morsels of goodness. Bruschetta with a salsa of tomato, onion, basil and vinegar lives on the menu of every Mom and Pop Italian restaurant worth its salt.

Ingredients

Fresh bread, like ciabatta or baguette
Butter, salted
Garlic, peeled but whole

Instructions

1. Slice the bread into roughly 1cm thick slices
2. On low heat, melt a little bit of butter in a pan. Add slices of bread, pushing it around in the melted butter to make sure it absorbs all the excess goodness.
3. Before flipping, add more butter in the empty spaces of the pan. Once melted, flip the soft side of the bread into the butter, again making sure that it absorbs all the excess. Keep on flipping the bread every 30 seconds to a minute, until it turns golden on both sides.
4. Using a clean cloth as protection for your hand, firmly grip a slice as you take it out of the pan, and rub the garlic onto the toast on both sides. Let it cool to room temperature before topping it with the rest of the ingredients.

Toppings

1. Ricotta, oven roasted grapes & thyme

Store-bought ricotta is the participation trophy of the cheese world. Make your own fresh ricotta with this recipe and be converted.
You can read all about roasting grapes here. It's simple. It's juicy. It's a must-make.

2. Goats cheese, prosciutto and fresh figs

This is the easiest thing in the world. You can get all the ingredients from your local supermarket and put it together in no time. The delicately salty prosciutto, creamy and oddly tart Chevin, and ancient flavour of fresh, sweet figs harmonise better than the Beach Boys.

It's the lazy housewife version of bruschetta, but your guest will be clawing at each other for the last piece.

Ingredients

70g Prosciutto
100g Goat cheese, like Chevin
1 Punnet of figs, like the Bordeaux variety

Layer the ingredients any way you see fit, or let your guests do it themselves. Don't sweat the small stuff, just have fun with this and let your guests do the same.

3. Roasted figs, blue cheese & honey

To be honest, I only wanted to lightly roast the figs for this recipe, but I forgot it on the grill. The result - blackened figs oozing with caramelised juices. Never am I grilling figs any other way. You can read more about the process here.

Ingredients

1 Punnet of figs, like the Bordeaux variety
50g Blue Cheese, like Cremezola
Honey

Layer the ingredients starting with the blue cheese, ending it off with honey.

Enjoy x

Don't sweat the small stuff. Eat the good stuff.

Don't sweat the small stuff. Eat the good stuff.