This one’s in the running for summer’s most perfect bite. You can get quite creative and fancy with bruschetta, but sometimes simplicity rules. A slab of ciabatta layered with the best ricotta you can find (or make your own — it’s easy) and a simple salad of juicy farmers’ market tomatoes dressed liberally with balsamic vinegar, jewel green olive oil, freshly cracked pepper and flakey sea salt. We could eat this everyday and twice on Sunday.
This is a great bruschetta to take advantage of late summer lovelies — fragrant, juicy tomatoes and sweet, sweet peppers. I love the technique of roasting the tomatoes right inside the peppers and then smooshing the whole thing down onto a hunk of grilled bread. Messy to eat for sure, but so beautiful.
I saw Jamie Oliver make this on his series “Jamie at Home” one day while I was parked on the couch, dazed from too many sleepless nights with our newborn. In such a state it was reviving to my spirits just to see Jamie wandering around his bountiful country garden, cooking up mouthwatering, rustic dishes like this one. And if I could have jumped right through the TV and grabbed one of these bruschetta right off his plate, believe me I would have! I was so exhausted at the time that I only managed to make a few mostly illegible chicken scratch notes on a scrap of paper while I was watching the show. Lucky for me, I unearthed that scrap this summer and I had enough to go on to try to re-create the dish.
I like these bruschetta along with an antipasto plate assembled from the deli for an easy summer dinner. I know sweet peppers are not necessarily a slam dunk for kids — I have one yes and one no in my family — but it’s an easy enough recipe to put together to test the waters. I think peeling the peppers could help texture-wise for kids and it always seems to help to get them involved with the cooking process. Dressing and scooping tomatoes are good tasks for little ones and I think no kid could possibly resist a little parent sanctioned smooshing..
Summery Roasted Sweet Pepper and Tomato Bruschetta
(adapted from Jamie Oliver At Home)
- 2 sweet peppers
- 4 large slices of rustic bread, sliced 1/2″ thick
- 2 large tomatoes (or the equivalent of 2 cups chopped)
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Fresh or dried herbs such as basil, thyme or parsley (optional)
- Shaved ricotta salata for garnish(optional)
- Sea salt, pepper, pinch of red pepper flakes
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Halve the peppers and remove the stems and seeds. Place the pepper halves on a foil lined baking sheet.
- In a bowl, core and chop the tomatoes (if using cherry tomatoes, halve them). Toss the tomatoes with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, red wine vinegar. I like to add a small pinch of chile flakes (enough if give it a little zing without making it too spicy for kids.). Taste and adjust the seasonings — it should taste like a well-seasoned tomato salad. Switch it up by adding fresh or dried herbs, substituting balsamic vinegar, etc.
- Spoon the seasoned tomatoes into the sweet pepper halves. Cover with foil and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes or until the peppers start to soften. Uncover and roast for an additional 10 minutes. While the peppers are roasting, slice your bread. The slices should be thick enough to stand up to the juicy topping.
- Turn your oven to broil and pop in your bread to toast while the peppers spend a few minutes under the broiler to get a light char. I like to flip my bread to toast both sides. Keep a close eye on everything during these 5 minutes — I have had too many burned toast disasters to count!
- When the peppers have cooled enough for you to work with them, tip excessive juice into a bowl so you won’t wont water log your bruschetta. Dress the toasted bread with a light drizzle of olive oil and then lay a roasted pepper on top (you may need to cut the peppers in half). Press down to let some of the juice mingle into the bread and to flatten out the whole thing. Sprinkle fresh herbs, sprinkle a little more salt if needed and optionally top with some shaved ricotta salata. You can also drizzle some of the juice you poured off earlier.
You might also like: Jamie Oliver’s Braised Pork and Pepper Goulash, Jamie Oliver’s Mini “Egg Cupcakes”, Summer Favorites Recipe Collection
My summer obsession: roasted peppers. I wake up in the middle of the night dreaming about them: sweet, tangy, colorful, juicy. Luckily they are incredibly easy to make and impossible to screw up. They’re delicious cold, room temp and warm and they’re even better a few days after you make them, which is the best kind of recipe. These are fabulous on an antipasto platter alongside cheese, Italian cold cuts and pepperoncini; and delicious on crostini with alongside ricotta or mascarpone and a sprinkling of parsley. Saute Italian sausage and onions, then add some of these peppers and diced tomatoes and you’ve got a quick and super yummy pasta sauce. Or simply add a few to a sandwich or a pizza. Like a lot of kids out there, Luca is suspicious of their “vegetable-y and slimey” texture, but he’ll put up with them if I cut them in small and don’t draw too much attention to them. Maybe your little eaters will too.
Ingredients: Sweet Peppers any color but green (choose flat sided ones); Olive Oil; Sea Salt or Kosher Salt; Garlic Powder
- Wash your peppers and just leave them whole, stems and all. Choose flat sided peppers if you can because they get more surface contact with the grill and char more evenly.
- Throw them on a dry grill plan or cast iron skillet on the stove. You can also do them on your outdoor grill or under the broiler. Using high heat char them on all sides. Let them get really black. It takes a while, so just keep turning them from time to time.
- Set the peppers in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap and let them come to room temperature.
- Uncover the bowl. The skins should slip off easily. Remove the stems and open up the peppers with your hands, keeping them as in tact as possible, and remove the seeds. It’s tempting to want to rinse them with water, but try not to because you’ll lose a lot of flavor. My friend Christian’s trick is to “wash” the peppers by swishing them around in their own collected juice.
- Once you have them cleaned up, tear them by hand (way, way better than cutting them with a knife). Drizzle generously with good quality olive oil, then sprinkle with sea salt or kosher salt. I usually give them a few good shakes of garlic powder for good measure. Toss them well. They should be nice and juicy.
You could eat them right away, but the flavor is even better if you cover them and let them sit overnight in the refrigerator. They’ll keep for a week for sure, but they never last that long with me around. Buon Appetito!