What happens when you combine garlic bread, pesto and Bruschetta toppings? You end up with the happiest kids, a sophisticated starter for a dinner party, or cheat-day munchies for girls’ night in!
Inspired by Bruschetta that I have gobbled down at several restaurants (it’s the first thing I order, along with nachos!), I have come up with three of my favourite toppings placed over oven-toasted garlic bread (I make mine at home but you could always use store-bought) generously covered in homemade pesto and sprinkled with some sharp cheddar shavings. This weekend, put on your chef’s hat and go into business with these yummies!
What you will need
Homemade or store-bought garlic bread loaf, neatly sliced and buttered on one side.
Homemade or store-bought pesto sauce (it’s the easiest recipe really – just blend together some basil, parsley [optional], garlic cloves, lightly roasted pine nuts or walnuts, some parmesan cheese, freshly ground black pepper, salt to taste and some extra virgin olive oil; and Voila!)
Bruschetta toppings (guacamole, olive-tomato salsa, mushroom ‘n’ cheese)
- For the guac you will need: 1 ripe avocado, halved, seeded and peeled; juice of half a lime; 1 red onion diced; 1 tomato, seeded and diced; small bunch cilantro, chopped fine; 1 clove garlic, minced; 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper; 1/2 preserved jalapeno pepper, diced; 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil; 1/4 tsp sugar; salt to taste
- For the salsa you will need: 6-8 black olives, pitted and diced; 1 tomato, blanched, seeded, peeled and diced; basil leaves, picked; 1 garlic clove, diced; juice of 1/2 a lime; 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil; 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper; 1/4 tsp sugar; salt to taste
- For the mush ‘n’ cheese you will need: 3-4 garlic cloves, diced; 1 tsp pomace olive oil; 1 tsp butter; 1 sprig fresh thyme; 2 tbsp cooking white wine; 1 medium onion, diced; 200 grams mushrooms, diced; 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper; 4-5 drops of Worcestershire sauce; 1/4 tsp red chilli flakes; grated sharp cheddar; 1/4 tsp sugar; salt to taste
Now get moving!
Preheat oven to 250°C .
In the meantime, prepare the toppings.
Guacamole: Place the scooped out pulp of the avocado in a large salad bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and gently fold to mix evenly. Taste and season as required. Keep in the refrigerator.
Olive-tomato salsa: Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Add some chopped basil. Keep aside.
Mushroom ‘n’ cheese: Heat a non-stick pan on a medium flame. Add the pomace olive oil and the butter. Add the sugar and some thyme. Allow the sugar to caramelize. Add the onions; fry till golden. Add the mushrooms. Add a dash of white wine and cook till the wine reduces. Season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes. Once the mushrooms are completely cooked and all the water evaporates, add the Worcestershire and some of the cheddar. The mixture should come together with the cheddar. Take off the flame and allow to cool completely.
Place the buttered garlic bread on an oven tray and toast in a pre-heated oven at 250°C for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
Generously spread some pesto on all the toasted slices.
Top with bruschetta topping of your choice or use all three toppings to create an assorted bruschetta platter.
For the guac topping: Just place a spoonful of the prepared guacamole on the bread, garnish with cilantro, and that’s about it!
For the salsa topping: Place a spoonful of the olive-tomato salsa on the bread, top it off with a few drops of olive oil, some cheddar shreds and an aesthetically placed basil leaf.
For the mush ‘n’ cheese topping: Place a spoonful of the prepared mix on the bread, top it off with some cheddar shreds and some chilli flakes. Add a sprig of thyme for effect.
Don’t forget to have some wine along with your bread! Have a gluten-loaded weekend!