Jamie Oliver’s Summery Roasted Pepper and Tomato Bruschetta

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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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

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Mythili’s Edamame With Coconut, Cumin and Chili

I love recipes that get me thinking of flavor combinations I’ve never tried. Turns out coconut, cumin and ginger go great together. Edamame are so healthy and snack-licious that it’s always great to have new ways to prepare them. And I think these flavors would be very nice on, say, green beans, too. I see lots of opportunity to play with the flavors to suit your taste (and that of your young ones). If your kids are sensitive to bold flavors you could certainly go light on the cumin and omit the chili altogether. I know my husband would love this loaded up with chili.

Many, many thanks to Sapna and her mom Mythili for sharing some home-cooking love with this recipe. It’s quite special to cook a recipe direct from someone’s mom vs. out of a cookbook. As I was making these for my family, I got to thinking about the many different forms that comfort food can take. My most cherished childhood food memories include everything from fried rice, to jook, steamed fish, christmas toffee, and blackberry pie. I can’t wait to teach my son all these…. and maybe one day, once he’s through this frustratingly picky phase, he’ll actually love them as much as I do!

Mythili’s Edamame with Cumin & Coconut

Simran suggests trying this as a side dish to curry.

  • Shelled Edamame (1 cup)
  • Grated Coconut (About 2 TBL)
  • Jeera (Cumin Seeds, to taste)
  • 1 Minced Green Chili (optional)
  • Minced Onion (optional)
  • Small Piece of Grated Ginger
  • Squeeze of Lemon Juice

Method:

  1. Add 1 spoon of butter or olive oil to pan.
  2. Saute cumin seed (all I had was gound, seeds would be better!) and minced chili for one minute. Add minced onion and saute three minutes.
  3. Add edamame and saute five minutes.
  4. Add grated coconut and fry one minute before taking the pan off the heat.
  5. Off heat, season with salt to taste and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Happy Lemon Risotto

The crazier life gets, the more I am won over by the versatility and ease of risotto. It’s serious comfort food, endlessly adaptable and an old standby that can be pulled together last minute with ingredients I almost always have in my pantry (arborio rice, chicken stock, an onion, a hunk of parmegiano reggiano) and jazzed up with a few bits of whatever else is around. While stove-side stirring is required, it somehow feels less stressful than recipes that require a lot of chopping or ingredients…. or thinking!

Before I get to some notes on risotto, here are three of our favorite variations:

  • Lemon Zest, Lemon Juice, Peas — Some Diced Roast Chicken or Sauteed Shrimp Would Be Nice!
  • Crumbled Sausage; a Can of Crushed Tomatoes Mixed with Broth for the Cooking Liquid; Fresh Spinach for Garnish (chiffonade)
  • Roasted Garlic; Toasted Sliced Almonds & a Dollop of Mascarpone (gotta give credit to Jamie Oliver for this one. Here’s his recipe)

Stacie’s Risotto Crib Sheet:

  1. Bring your stock to a simmer (you’ll need ~2.5 cups for every cup of uncooked arborio rice). [Since I had some asparagus I wanted to use up, I just trimmed it and blanched it right in the stock for 2-3 minutes until tender crisp, then set it aside.]
  2. Saute some finely diced onion and celery in olive oil until softened. Add the uncooked arborio rice to the pan and saute for several minutes until it starts looking less chalky and more translucent.
  3. If you have some available, add a splash of white wine (1/2 cup or so) and let it completely absorb before starting to add the stock (if you don’t have any, you can skip it without sacrificing too much). Then, start adding the warm stock one ladle at a time, stirring until the liquid is completely absorbed between each addition. My Italian cooking guru Marcella Hazan says to start checking the rice for done-ness after about 20 minutes.
  4. When you’re getting close to your preferred done-ness, add your goodies [in this case the zest of 1 lemon and the juice of 1.5 lemons, a handful of frozen peas which I didn’t bother defrosting].
  5. Off heat stir in a generous amount of grated parmeggiano and a little pat of butter if it strikes your fancy. Taste taste taste and correct your seasonings. [I scattered my blanched asparagus on top. For a little zip, I also garnished with some finely chopped chives, crispy fried sage leaves (nice for texture and takes the intensity way down), a little squeeze of lemon and drizzle of good olive oil.]

Unfortunately, my little one objects to most green foods lately and picked around the peas & asparagus with determination– even after we made happy face bites on our forks — but my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed this dinner of creamy, lemony, comfort food yumminess which we enjoyed with some crispy fish fillets and sauteed asparagus. Yum yum good!