When Nathan and I were first married, one of our favorite quick appetizers to make was a simple tomato bruschetta. We would place slices of tomato and mozzarella on pieces of crusty baguette and toast our tasty creations in the oven until they were hot and melty. Somewhere along the way we forgot about bruschetta and stopped making it until this past week when we noticed our basil was getting out of control and was begging to be made into pesto. We weren’t excited about using our pesto in pasta, etc. so we decided to take our old bruschetta ‘recipe’ to the next level by adding fresh pesto, fresh made mozzarella, and a quick tomato and red onion salad to the mix. We layered our toppings on grilled and crispy pieces of bread and the result was a flavor medley that was simultaneously rich, light, and zesty. This is the perfect summer appetizer or light dinner to enjoy outside with a glass of light white wine on those evenings when you have an abundance of basil and don’t want to turn on the oven.
Honestly, I couldn’t quite figure this wine out. I liked the underlying flavor but it tasted oddly watered down…as though ice cubes had melted into it. It’s actually hard to say whether or not it was a good pairing with the pesto and bruschetta because the flavor was so faint and neutral. For this reason I wouldn’t highly recommend it unless you like very mellow wines.
For some reason I had it in my mind that I didn’t like this beer but I was pleasantly surprised with how flavorful this pilsner was compared to many other European pilsners. Nice and light like you expect from a pilsner with sweet honey malt flavors balanced with nice bitter hops. Beyond the fact that this is a great pilsner, it was a great beer to have with the bruschetta! The pesto has such strong flavors that all you really need is a light refreshing drink to wash it down with which Pilsner Urquell does perfectly.
1 baguette, sliced
1 batch of pesto (recipe follows)
1 batch of mozzarella (recipe follows)
1 tomato, chopped
¼-½ red onion, chopped
1-2 Tbs. olive oil
Combine chopped tomato with chopped onion and drizzle with olive oil. Brush slices of baguette with olive oil and grill on grill pan over medium to medium high until toasty. Place a slice of mozzarella on each piece of bread. Spoon pesto over mozzarella and top with tomato salad. Garnish with fresh basil.
Adapted from this recipe
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
4 cloves garlic (reduce to 2-3 cloves if you don’t love garlic as much as we do)
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 Tbs. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese
Combine the basil, garlic, lemon juice, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add ¼ cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese