Bruschetta Dip with Garlic Crostini

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Everyone has that one go-to appetizer and for me it’s my bruschetta dip with garlic crostini.

The recipe came about one evening when I was in a rush for a friend’s cocktail party. I had bought all the ingredients for making a classic bruschetta to bring with me, but just did not have the time to top every single little piece of toasted bread.

With ten minutes to get myself out the door with an appetizer in hand, I turned on the stove, doused a sauté pan with olive oil and began to layer the bruschetta ingredients into a flavorful dip.

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In my very Italian-bias opinion you simply cannot go wrong combining olive oil with garlic and tomatoes. A couple swirls around the pan of red wine deepens the flavor of the sauce and then you finish it off with freshly chopped basil and grated parmesan cheese.

The dip works just as well cold as it does hot, as long as you have some time to let it cool in the fridge. A few weekends ago, I brought the cooled version of the dip to the Maryland Wine Festival in Carroll County, for friends to enjoy in between rounds of wine sampling and it quickly became a crowd favorite.

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Bruschetta Dip with Garlic Crostini

2 pints grape tomatoes, roughly chopped

handful of fresh basil, chiffonade

salt and pepper

extra virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, chopped, plus one whole clove

grate parmesan cheese

1/4 cup dry red wine (sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon, or pinot noir works well)

one baguette, sliced thin

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and garlic. Sauté for a minute (do not let brown) and then stir in the grape tomatoes and add some salt and freshly ground pepper. Let this mixture cook for about 3-4 minutes, then add in the red wine and stir everything together. Allow the mixture to cook for another 3 minutes, letting the wine reduce slightly and then turn the heat on low and mix in the basil and cheese. Turn the heat off.

Set your oven on broil. Place your slices of bread in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Pour some olive oil into a small bowl, and using your fingers, paint some olive oil onto the top of each bread slice. Put the bread into the oven, leaving the oven door open so you don’t smoke up your kitchen. Watch the bread carefully! It will take only a minute or two to toast.

Once the bread is toasted, remove from the oven and immediately rub the whole clove of garlic, once or twice, on each bread slice. At this point if you want to serve the dip hot you are ready to go, otherwise allow the dip to cool in the fridge (generally takes about 30 minutes to cool). Serve the crostini alongside the dip.

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