Today was one of those Sunday afternoons on the back patio, when I have more food in the garden than I do in the fridge. We ended up grazing all day instead of eating actual meals. With a glass of wine, this twist on classic tomato bruschetta would make a perfect party appetizer too!
The magical ingredient is truly the garden fresh basil. Basil just feels like summer, and it’s easy to grow. From a $1.99 packet of seeds, it’s actually very easy to grow. You can buy little potted herbs, but basil is one I would start from seed. When you buy a basil plant you are literally doing just that, buying a basil plant, just one. A single recipe and you pluck every leaf and end up with a rickety stalk not likely to produce much more. Instead, every spring I plant a most of a seed pack in a window box planter in our backyard, the point is to have lots of basil plants. Enough to snip a handful for White Bean Bruschetta and not wipe out your entire crop, plenty to make garden pesto and tomato basil fettuccine all summer long! Basil grows very quickly so even though we are pushing July, it’s not too late to plant your own pot and get it in the sun!
White Bean Bruschetta
- 2 c cooked white beans, chickpeas or a combination
- 1 bell pepper, red yellow or orange
- 1 clove garlic
- 8 cherry tomatoes quartered
- 1 T capers
- ½ shallot (or a quarter of a small onion) thinly sliced
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 T red wine vinegar
- ¼ c fresh basil roughly chopped
- ½ t kosher salt
- 6 grinds fresh black pepper
- baguette or any French or Italian bread
- Parmesan cheese shaved with a vegetable peeler
- For this recipe you need 2 cups of beans. You can simply use 1 can of either white beans or chickpeas, or use dried beans soaked overnight and cooked. I like to cook 2 bags of beans together, 1 pound chickpeas and 1 pound white beans. Soak in a large pot of water overnight, in the morning drain and rinse and refill pot with water. Simmer on medium low for a few hours until soft. I then freeze this white bean mixture in pint jars, great for this recipe, but also great for making hummus, soups, or salads.
- Set oven to broil, roast the bell pepper whole and the clove of garlic in its skin, both drizzled with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Rotate the pepper a few times with tongs until the skin starts to char and blacken on all sides. Remove from oven and let sit on the pan while you assemble other ingredients. The pepper will "deflate" as it sits.
- In a bowl, combine all other ingredients except cheese and bread.
- When pepper is slightly cooled, peel off the charred skin and remove the stem and seeds. Do not rinse. Remove the garlic's skin and smash and mince it. Add both to the bowl including any oils that may be on the pan.
- Slice a baguette or Italian bread and toast or toss it with olive oil and grill it.
- Spoon the mixture over the grilled baguette and garnish with shaved Parmesan. The bruschetta can be served hot or cold or somewhere in between. The heat from the peppers and the beans if you just cooked them give it a nice contrast, but refrigerating the whole mixture and serving it cold is fine too. Makes a great appetizer or lunch!