Summertime cooking doesn’t always have to mean grilling. Stretch an appetizer into a meal by making a lovely bruschetta platter. Half-cooked and half-assembled, all the components of this meal could easily be made in advance. With a bottle of wine, it’s perfect for lazy entertaining that will impress your guests.
1 loaf of artisan bread
fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
2 packages of grape tomatoes, oven-roasted with basil*
wheel of Camembert cheese
1 large onion, caramelized*
1/3 c golden raisins
1 T fresh rosemary, minced
1 T preserved lemons, minced
1. Arrange everything on a platter. You can toast your bread in advance and drizzle it with olive oil and rub it with a fresh clove of garlic. You can also have the toaster or broiler handy so you can melt the cheese on the spot.
2. Allow your guest to assemble as they like. Here are my suggestions: 1. mozzarella with oven roasted tomatoes and basil. 2. carmelized onions with Camembert, rosemary, raisins and preserved lemons. Of course, you can make a platter of your own devices. It’s a fun way to eat and is very simple to prepare.
2 packages of grape tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 c olive oil
6-8 basil leaves
1. Preheat oven to 300°. Rinse tomatoes. Smash the garlic to remove the peel and place the smashed cloves into an oblong baking pan. Add tomatoes, douse with olive oil and generously season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
2. Roast for about an hour and a half, jiggling pan once or twice. You want the tomatoes to burst and brown slightly. You could use them in an hour, but the extra time develops sweetness.
3. Remove garlic. Tear basil leaves and toss with tomatoes. These can be made a few days in advance, but they are very hard to resist, so make a bit extra for snitching.
1 very large or 2 small sweet onions, peeled and sliced thinly
1/2 T red pepper flakes
1. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pan with a lid over a medium-low flame. Add red pepper flakes. Allow them to sizzle for 30 seconds before adding onions. Generously season with sea salt and cover pan with lid.
2. For the first ten minutes, occasionally peek and stir onions, trying to keep all onions at the same wilting and browning rate. Once they are all fairly cooked down, remove the lid. Continue to stir occasionally.
3. Once browning begins, stir more frequently to maintain consistency. The longer and slower they cook, the better they’ll taste. Occasionally they’ll start sticking to the bottom of your pan. Either add a bit of water or cover with your lid to build up with steam. Stir vigorously to scrape up the bottom bits. That’s the best flavor. In about a half an hour, they’ll be done. These can be made up to five days in advance. If you want, add more onions, increase your cooking time, and use the extras in pastas, sandwiches and omelettes throughout the week.