Bruschetta with Sweet Pea Pesto and Tomato Raisins

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Bruschetta (Italian pronunciation brusketta) is an antipasto or starter dish in Italy consisting of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil and salt. Variations include toppings of assorted grilled vegetables, tomatoes, spreads, etc.

My daughter and I were on our own for dinner last night. My son was busy with friends, my husband was working at his second full time job – building our vacation home at the beach. I love dinner together as a family but also treasure the time I can spend one on one with my kids. My daughter’s tastes are as adventurous as mine, so when I suggested a starter of bruschetta with pea pesto and tomato raisins she was game. Something tells me that my son would have made a gagging face similar to the one he made as an infant the first time he tried pureed peas.

The pea pesto was sweet with just a hint of zing thanks to the lemon juice and red pepper flake. The tomato raisin and basil version tasted like a really good tomato pie. I’ll be honest, we didn’t save much room for dinner.

Try serving this as an appetizer at your next party, or for lunch with friends.

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To make the bruschetta:

loaf of your favorite bagette or Italian bread, sliced to desired size

clove of garlic

extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt

fresh ground black pepper

Slice a loaf of your favorite bread such as Italian or in this case I used chiabatta baguette. Grill on your stove top in a grill pan, on an outdoor grill, or toast them in a 300 degree oven as I did until just browning and crisp. Rub with a clove of garlic, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.

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For the Pea Pesto:

1 cup frozen peas, defrosted

1/4 cup toasted almonds (optional)

a handful of fresh basil or tarragon

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

squeeze of fresh lemon juice

pinch of salt

pinch of red pepper flake

one garlic clove

extra virgin olive oil

Add all ingredients except olive oil to your food processor. Process to a fine crumb. With machine running, add olive oil until you get a hummus consistency. Taste and season accordingly.

Top some of the bruschetta with the pea pesto, Parmesan cheese and more red pepper flake. Put the Tomato Raisins and fresh torn basil leaves on the rest.

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