Bruschetta has always been one of the easiest ways to initially greet guests. “Ew, bruschetta” said no one ever. We all know the typical way it’s served, with diced tomatoes etc. I wanted to bring a fresh version of this tried and true appetizer to my most recent gathering. I leafed through one of my Martha Stewart cookbooks to get some inspiration. Often I just make recipes up as I go along but sometimes I need to call on the true queens of cooking to get the juices flowing. I love Martha’s “Meatless” cookbook; that’s where I drew inspiration from here. It’s a great book that’s essential for vegetarians. Bruschetta is great because you can use a variety of breads to toast for your base. There are so many toppings to choose from too. The hearty mushrooms and tangy olives were a great duo, and they looked lovely served alongside one another. I love giving options, that’s the nurturer in me. After all, isn’t feeding people one of the most nurturing acts one can do?
Lemon Olive Bruschetta:
A loaf of French bread or the bread of your choice sliced into small rounds. Brush one side of the bread rounds with olive oil and toast or bake until slightly crisp. Set aside.
You’ll also need one cup chopped pitted good quality olives. I used a multicolored mix which was so pretty.
One peeled, seeded, and chopped lemon.
One tbsp finely chopped red onion.
one cup of coarsely chopped marinated artichoke hearts.
1/4 tsp sugar.
3 tbsp good olive oil.
Two to three tbsp chopped fresh mint.
Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and mix all and spoon on toasts. Martha used celery and parsley in place of the artichokes and mint, FYI. You have room here to vary. I thought the artichokes would go nicely with the tang factor, and that the mint would liven it all up. It worked beautifully.
Mushroom Garlic Bruschetta:
Same bread instructions. If you have another kind of bread it’s nice to use two different kinds to suit the two different toppings. Or, you can cut a regular loaf of bread into squares and toast those too.
1 1/2 pounds chopped fresh mushrooms, any kind or kinds. I used a mix of porcini, chanterelle, and oyster.
Two cloves minced fresh garlic.
Two tbsp of fresh thyme.
1/4 cup Dry white wine on hand to deglaze as you’re sautéing.
Sauté all ingredients until mushrooms start to turn golden and release their juices. Deglaze with wine by the tbsp as needed. Season with salt and fresh pepper and top toasts with mixture. Garnish with some additional fresh thyme leaves. Alternate toasts on the same serving platter for a nice presentation. Have cocktail napkins on hand!