12 May 2010

dressed to impress

I love posting baking recipes and yet I rarely bake. It always seems like such a time commitment to me, even if the dinner recipe I try instead takes longer.

Since absolutely everyone has come up to me and told me they tried the kale recipe I posted, I'm going to assume we are of similar mindsets and try to focus on snacks and meals as opposed to dessert. For a little while. Maybe a very little while. Definitely for this post, okay?!

I love ripe tomatoes. As much as I wish tomatoes were top notch all year, they simply aren't so now that I can see tomato plants shooting up in the community gardens across the street, I want to celebrate. I like to make my own bruschetta and salsa and this recipe is for when you want to impress:

Bruschetta with White Bean Paste and Balsamic Glaze

1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons nonrefined cane sugar (if you end up using refined sugar you'll need more, trust me)

1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 glove garlic, minced

4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely (but not too finely, you still want to see tomato chunks, not red mush) chopped
1 red chili, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons lime juice

16 (approx) slices French baguette
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the balsamic glaze, you simmer the vinegar and the sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until syrupy. If you are using refined sugar, after 20 minutes when it is still not reducing add double sugar then go for another 15 - 20 minutes. The syrup won't be super thick (especially when hot) so if you think it's maybe right, take it off, cool, then taste for sweetness. If you need to heat and reduce longer, go ahead. Cool.
Note: This will smell horrible. You will swear to yourself that you will never make a reduced balsamic glaze ever again. But you will. It is too good and it works on so many things (even french fries) but please don't make it when your guests are over and for the love of God open all the windows in your kitchen.

For the bean paste, combine beans, cheese, orange juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil and garlic into blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. And use white pepper if you can.

In a separate bowl, mix the tomatoes, chili, shallot, basil and lime together.

Brush your baguette slices with the remaining olive oil and grill (or toast) 2-3 minutes on each side. When they come out, plate them and spread about a tablespoon of the bean paste on each slice. Top with about 2 tablespoons of tomatoes and drizzle with the balsamic glaze.

So. Good. Promise.

Original Recipe from Vegetarian Times (January 2010). Photo from Google Images.

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