Savory summer snacks

I’ve found that making crostini and bruschetta is a simple way to create a satisfying, fun meal using fresh and high-quality raw ingredients.

Bruschetta with tomatoes, basil and salty cheese (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Bruschetta with tomatoes, basil and salty cheese
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
During the summer months, no one feels like spending a lot of time in a hot kitchen. Luckily, there are so many easy and quick recipes you can follow for a fun evening get together with family and friends.
I’ve found that making crostini and bruschetta is a simple way to create a satisfying, fun meal using fresh and high-quality raw ingredients. And most of us already have the first food staple on hand at home: bread. All you need to add are toppings and spreads that you happen to have around the house and, voila! You’ve created a unique, tasty meal.
Crispy bread is the base for our meal, and on top of that you can add fresh or grilled vegetables; grilled, pickled or smoked fish; spreads, cheeses or meat.
In short, whatever you happen to have leftover in the fridge can most likely be used on your crostini.
So, you might be wondering what the difference is between a crostini and a bruschetta. Although they’re served the same way, the bread should be sliced to different thicknesses.
Bruschetta comes from the Italian word bruscare, which means to roast over the coals. Bruschetta is made from slices of charred bread. When the slices are still hot, brush them with olive oil and rub them with a half clove of garlic, so that it melts into the bread and gives it a wonderful flavor and aroma.
Crostini are little toasts that are made from baguette or ciabatta that have been cut into thin slices, which are baked in the oven with a little olive oil, salt and herbs. Feel free to use different textures of toppings. They can be served on a platter, so that guests can pick and choose the ones that look appetizing to them.
This week, I’ve chosen to show you how to make four different kinds of bruschetta and crostini. Feel free to come up with your own ideas to make them colorful and fun.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.
Bruschetta with tomatoes, basil and salty cheese
Ingredients: ■ ½ cup olive oil ■ 3 garlic cloves, crushed ■ 6 slices whole-grain bread Toppings: ■ 3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped finely ■ 2 garlic cloves, chopped ■ ½ cup basil, chopped ■ Salt and pepper, to taste ■ ¼ tsp balsamic vinegar ■ ¼ cup olive oil Tipascale For bruschetta to be crispy, it’s best to use day-old bread, and not fresh bread.
Additions: ■ 200 gr. salty cheese, cut into cubes ■ 12 kalamata olives, sliced
Preparation: Mix the oil and garlic together and then spread on the bread slices.
In a pre-heated oven, grill slices until crispy. Another option is to cook slices on a grill pan.
In a bowl, mix topping ingredients together. Add a heaping tablespoon onto each grilled slice, and arrange the cheese cubes and olives on platter for serving. Just before serving, drizzle bruschetta with a little olive oil.
Slice bread into bite-size pieces: baguette or whole wheat bread slices, pita cut into quarters, or focaccia cut into strips.
For best results, prepare toasts just before serving.
Don’t overload slices with toppings, otherwise they will be difficult to eat.
Prepare your favorite topping (olive tapenade, pesto, lemon, pepper, tomato) ahead of time and store in the fridge.
Short on time? Purchase your favorite spread and store it in your pantry or fridge.
These can be used in a variety of recipes and often come in handy
Crostini with mozzarella and pickled artichoke
Ingredients: ■ ½ baguette ■ 3 garlic cloves, peeled ■ Olive oil ■ 2-3 tomatoes, sliced thinly ■ 100-150 gr. mozzarella cheese, sliced to 0.5 cm or sliced goat cheese ■ ¾ cup artichoke slices in oil ■ 4-5 basil leaves, chopped thinly ■ Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste If you love it spicy: ■ 1 chili pepper, chopped thinly ■ 1 small hot green pepper, chopped thinly
Preparation: Slice the bread at an angle into 1 cm. thick slices. Toast lightly in oven or toaster. Rub slices with garlic and brush lightly with a bit of olive oil.
On top of each slice, lay a slice of tomato and mozzarella or goat cheese.
On top of that, place a piece of artichoke and some basil. If you like to spice things up, add some chili pepper or hot green pepper slices. Drizzle a little olive oil on top, and season with salt and pepper.
Lemon tapenade
This is a quick way to prepare lemon tapenade with pickled lemon that can be bought in the store (of course, you’re welcome to prepare this at home, too).
Preparation: Cut up 2-3 lemons into thin slices. Mix with a bit of kosher salt and a pinch of sugar, bay leaves, allspice, hot paprika and olive oil.
Mix together in a jar that closes tightly. Can be stored in the fridge for up to five days.
Can be served as slices, or ground up as a tapenade.
Olive tapenade
Ingredients: ■ 100 gr. kalamata olives, pitted ■ 2 tbsp olive oil ■ 1 tbsp bread crumbs or walnuts ■ 1 clove of garlic
Preparation: In a mixer, blend all the ingredients until smooth. Transfer to a small jar.
Bruschetta with roasted peppers, anchovies and oregano
Ingredients: ■ 6-8 slices of whole grain bread ■ 4 peppers (1 of each color: red, yellow, green and orange), roasted over fire or grilled in oven, peeled ■ 3 Tbsp. olive oil ■ 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar ■ 2 garlic cloves, chopped ■ A bit of thyme or oregano (preferably fresh), chopped ■ 2 tsp lemon tapenade (see recipe below) ■ Salt and pepper ■ 4 anchovy fillets in oil ■ Walnuts, chopped
Preparation: Cut roasted peppers into thin strips and put in a bowl. Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chopped garlic, oregano or thyme.
Add salt and pepper and mix. Leave to rest for 30 minutes in fridge.
Spread a little lemon tapenade on slices and then add a few slices of peppers. On top, add an anchovy fillet, chopped walnuts and pieces of oregano or thyme.
Crostini with olive tapenade, mushrooms and yellow tomatoes
■ ½ baguette ■ 3 garlic cloves, peeled ■ Olive oil Toppings: ■ ¼ cup olive oil ■ 1 onion, sliced ■ 1 cup mushrooms, sliced ■ ¼ tsp balsamic vinegar ■ Salt and pepper, to taste Serving additions: ■ 1 cup yellow tomatoes, halved ■ 2 scallions, sliced thinly ■ Olive tapenade (see recipe below)
Preparation: Slice bread at an angle into 1 cm. slices. Toast lightly in oven or toaster. Rub with garlic cloves and brush lightly with olive oil.
Heat oil in a skillet and fry onion slices until brown. Add mushrooms and fry until soft. Add the balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and cook until liquid evaporates.
Cool completely.
Spread a thin layer of olive tapenade on bread slices, and then add a spoonful of mushrooms on top. Decorate with a half tomato and pieces of scallion. Season with salt and pepper.