Spring always marks the beginning of a busy social calendar for us. We love any excuse to have a BBQ or get-together and spring and summer provide ample opportunities for us to do so! One thing I’ve learned though is that there’s a delicate balance between being a hostess and just a fulltime cook/bartender for the evening. I typically stick with easy appetizers and meal options so that I get to spend more time with my guests and less time slaving over a hot stove!
One of my favorite appetizers to serve up is bruschetta. It’s always a crowd pleaser and takes minimal effort to put together. To add some variety to the mix I created three simple and delicious ways to serve up this classic appetizer. Roasted tomato, garlic, basil, and mozzarella, prosciutto, mixed greens, cream cheese, and olive oil, and strawberry, basil, goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette with honey. The best part? Set up all the fixings on a separate table to create a ‘Bruschetta Bar’ and let guests build their own!
Depending on the amount of guests you’re serving you’ll want to adjust the amounts accordingly. You can also stretch your ingredients further by using smaller baguettes.
(makes 4 of each kind)
1 1/2 cups cherry/grape tomatoes, halved
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup olive oil + a little extra to drizzle across bruschetta
Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
1 large baguette, cut into 1/2 inch to 1 inch slices (12 slices total)
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1/4 fresh basil, finely chopped
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
4oz cream cheese
1 cup mixed green salad or arugula
4 slices of prosciutto
4oz spreadable goat cheese
1-2 Tbs honey
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange tomato halves and minced garlic on the pan. Drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place in the oven to cook for 15-20 minutes or until tomato halves start to shrivel around the edges. Remove from the oven and seal the foil around the tomatoes to keep the heat in. Place in the microwave or on top of the stove to stay warm.
Turn broiler on to 500 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil. Brush both sides of the baguette slices with olive oil and arrange in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven for 1-2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Flip slices over and cook another 1-2 minutes or until toasted. Remove from oven and transfer to a separate plate or baking sheet.
While waiting on the tomatoes and bread, you can prep the rest of your ingredients. In a medium sized bowl, stir together strawberries, 2 Tbs of chopped basil, and balsamic vinaigrette. Set aside until ready to use.
Now to put everything together!
For the prosciutto bruschetta:
Spread a layer of cream cheese on a baguette slice, layer with mixed greens or arugula, and top with a slice of prosciutto. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with freshly ground pepper. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
For the strawberry basil bruschetta:
Spread a layer of goat cheese on a baguette slice, top with a few spoonfuls of the strawberry, basil, balsamic vinaigrette mix, and drizzle honey across the top. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
For the roasted tomato and garlic brushetta:
Sprinkle shredded mozzarella on a baguette slice and place in the oven under the broiler at 500 degrees for 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with a few spoonfuls of the tomato and garlic mix and remaining basil. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve right away!