This is a twist on a dish I’ve been making for years, and it’s a perfect accompaniment to a Memorial Day party. Here, strawberries are paired with the classic combination of tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and basil, resulting in a fresh and summery dish. A smear of goat cheese lends the bruschetta a hearty, tangy flavor to contrast with the strawberries’ and tomatoes’ sweetness.
I’ve been making the sans-strawberry version of bruschetta for years (since college, at least), and it’s a reliable appetizer to serve when I have friends over for dinner. For this version, the strawberries are a unique addition to my reliable original recipe. About a week ago, I picked up Ted Allen’s new cookbook, In My Kitchen. He’s the host of Chopped, one of my favorite shows on TV right now, and the recent recipient of a James Beard award. As David says, “the James Beard Awards are like the Oscars for you,” so the fact that he recently won one is very exciting (for me, at least, and I’m sure for him, too). The idea for adding strawberries came from one of his recipes, and it’s a fabulous idea.
It’s a crowd-pleaser: I’ve had the opportunity to serve these to three different groups of friends, most recently some of David’s relatives and a friend & former coworker from Pearson just yesterday.
The recipe can also be adapted in a few ways for Memorial Day celebrations. The tomato-strawberry blend can be made awhile ahead, as the flavors will blend together and meld over time. The preparation outline below is what I do in my apartment, but if you’re bringing a dish to share to a Memorial Day party or grilling, this can easily be converted to an outdoor dish. If that’s the case, brush the baguette slices with olive oil and place on the grill. Once it’s toasted and somewhat crispy, take a clove of raw garlic and rub it on the flat surface of the bread. Then top with a thin layer of goat cheese and the raw tomato-strawberry combo and garnish with basil.
The goat cheese can also be omitted entirely to keep make it a vegan recipe.
Strawberry & Tomato Bruschetta with Goat Cheese
Adapted from Ted Allen’s “In My Kitchen”
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 pint strawberries
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 Tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper
3 oz. soft goat cheese
1 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
4 large basil leaves, sliced
1) Slice the grape tomatoes down the center length-wise, then chop into thirds. Chop the stems off the strawberries and slice into smaller pieces. Combine the olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, and strawberries in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
2) Preheat the oven to 400-degrees. Smear an even layer of goat cheese across each slice of baguette and arrange on a rimmed baking sheet. Spoon the strawberry-tomato mixture over each slice. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the edge of the baguette get toasty and brown and the strawberries and tomatoes are warmed through. Garnish with sliced basil leaves and serve immediately.