Gentle Readers, sometimes The Practical Cook can’t help but be left with a few stray items in the fridge that have no direct connection to each other or apparent potential to be a meal. What to do? Slap it on bread and call it bruschetta. Apologies to Waldorf, whose teeth I can actually hear gritting.
Inspired to wax on about this dinner idea by my friend LiteracyCook (who calls her leftover meal “mixed grill,” brilliant marketing), here are some tips for making your meal more than the sum of its disparate parts. Serve the bruschetta with a salad for a guilt-free quick weeknight meal!
Bruschetta for Dinner: Tips, Guidelines, and a Flexible Recipe
1. Toasting improves bread. If your bread is on the brink, bruschetta is your friend. The strong flavors and toasting will breathe some life back into it. Unless it’s the toasted bread I had the other night for dinner, which I would swear was made with lemon-scented dishwater. But I digress.
2. Cheese adheres. Fine, real bruschetta would not lean on this trick, but I’m using the term loosely here. If you’re toasting these open-faced gems in the toaster oven, you’ll appreciate the adhesive properties of cheese. Plus, it’s a nice way to use a little bit up, and the younger set will see it as fancy cheese toast.
3. No topping is too small. Variety is a win for this meal, so do not fret if you have just a bit of this and that. Plan to make at least two flavors, and three if you’re feeling crazy.
Three Flavor Combos for Bruschetta from The Practical Cook Test Kitchen:
Mushroom Caviar on Mozzarella: Mince 3 cloves of garlic and heat in a splash of olive oil over medium heat until you can smell the garlic. Toss in a handful of finely chopped mushrooms and raise the heat. Saute, stirring frequently, until the water is gone. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes a great potato topping, too.
Apples and Cheddar: My favorite of the bunch, a sharp cheddar and a stray apple that was no longer super crisp made a great pairing after a run through the toaster oven.
Grape Tomatoes with Mozzarella and Pesto: Quarter the tomatoes and spread the pesto on artfully after toasting. This was the favorite of The Practical Cooks Junior.
What’s your secret to repackaging leftovers? Share your tips and tricks by posting a comment below!
Send your leftovers, challenges, and queries to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)
On Sunday, it’s time for Weekly Menus! I feel certain you’re giddy with anticipation.