The year began with dinner

It’s not lunch a la Peter Mayle, I didn’t get started as early as that, (better late than never) but the BH and I rang in the Yes Year (Damn, that’s hokey, but what else to call it except maybe A Year in JP?  Hmm.) on Monday night with my own version of the bruschetta that made my mouth water and heart clench as I watched Julie and Julia.  In the movie, there’s a lingering shot of the bread slices frying in oil before they’re piled with delicious chopped heirloom tomatoes and basil.  The sound of the film is so good that you hear the slurp-crunch as they eat.

I’ve never fried the bread for my bruschetta before, and I’ve rarely grilled it.

I will never make that mistake again.

Always fry your bread in olive oil until it’s crunchy and golden, then drain it on a paper bag, then put it on a platter with too much cheese.  Always.  (Also, “too much cheese?”  I must be crazy.  There’s no such thing.)

Here’s what it will look like.  (Bostonians, this is an Iggy’s Francese loaf, sliced.  I know– Francese bread for an Italian dish?  It was good.  You’ll forgive me.)

Then, you also have little cut up bits of cherry-sized heirloom tomatoes that you’ve bought from Trader Joe’s because you were lazy the Farmer’s market, and dressed with salt and pepper and torn pieces of basil and a half a chopped vidalia onion.  Like this.

And then you will smear your crusty, toasty, crispy, oily and oh-so-delicious bread with too much just enough ricotta or fresh sliced mozzarella and pile on some tomatoes, and you will look at it and think “Oooooh.”  Like this.

And then, then, you will crunch through the oil-crisped bread, the creamy sweet rich ricotta, the tangy-herby-fruity-vegetal topping, and you will agree.

Always fry the bread.

You probably won’t even need the olive oil, good balsamic your BIL brought back from his honeymoon and/or good sherry vinegar to top it all with. I didn’t.

(I may have drizzled some vinegar right onto some mozzarella slices all on their own and then eaten them with my bare hands and then licked my plate after all the bruschetta topping was done, but that would be kind of piggy and there’s no photographic proof to say that it happened.  Just a Freudian slip in a blog post.)

The year began with dinner.


6 thoughts on “The year began with dinner

  1. Janet

    it looked SO good in Julia & Julie (yeah I know that’s not the name, but it’s what I call it) that I’ve been craving it lol. Altho…the food noises the husband made really turned me off.

  2. Sherry

    I told myself after the movie that I had to get that cookbook, I had to find those videos. Have I done either yet? Nooo. Now you’re just hounding me about it! I’m sitting here listening to the crunch of the bread, waving my hand from your pictures to my face – enjoying the aroma, licking my lips.

    *yes i said yes i will yes*

  3. Robert Modean

    Positively sinful is the only way I can describe that but I must, I fear, correct you on one point – there is never such a thing as too much ricotta (or marscapone if you prefer). After sharing such a culinary treat and tempting us with pictures of the fried bready cheesy bruschetta-y goodness that was the result, I must share a similar recipe. Something I’m fond of as a starter, or in larger portions as a meal in itself, involving heirloom tomatoes, white onions, elephant ear garlic, and pumpernickel bread.

    I start with a white onion and slicing it thinly, place the slices in a shallow bath of apple cider vinegar (just enough to cover them) before sprinkling them with sugar. Next I roast the elephant ear garlic and while that’s going on I slice the tomatoes. Once they’re done you’re ready to pan fry the pumpernickel in olive oil (of course) and drain exactly as you describe. Remove the roasted garlic when done, allow to cool and while it’s doing that you can drain the onions (you’ll find the vinegar and sugar removed much of the overpowering ‘onioniness’, leaving something not quite as sweet as a Vidalia, yet with a more robust flavor). Now it’s just a matter of assembly. Take the roast garlic and spread it on the bread, add a little sweet cream butter if you’d like (some prefer it), then a slice of onion, a slice or two of tomato, dress the tomatoes with balsamic vinegar, maybe a little olive oil and cracked pepper, and enjoy. I find the pumpernickel has a rich enough flavor to hold it’s own against the sweet roasted garlic, the sweet and tangy onion, and the heirloom tomatoes.

    **(I may have drizzled some vinegar right onto some mozzarella slices all on their own and then eaten them with my bare hands and then licked my plate after all the bruschetta topping was done, but that would be kind of piggy and there’s no photographic proof to say that it happened. Just a Freudian slip in a blog post.)**

    Of course, just a Freudian slip in a blog post. Right. And I for one have never been known to sit down with a half a round of caramelized camembert topped with macademia nuts, eat it with my fingers (which I do not licked clean before failing to wipe them on my pants) and washing it all down with a few draft ciders. No. Not me. We are united in our denial.


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