I got to do another cooking demo today! This time with the USO. Sorry I didn’t stream it to the networks. I’m shy. Haha. To make up for it, I’ve posted the recipe below. And exciting news, I’ll be interviewing a chef next week on Tuesday, God- willing, on IG Live @ChefTasteBud. Details to come.
So about this demo: Here’s the summer. Here comes the 4th. There goes Juneteenth. Lots of thoughts clouding my mind. Quarantine effects linger. One prevailing thought: keep it simple! Looking around my kitchen, we came up with the below. When cooking with ingredients, its helpful to see the ingredients for the flavors they contribute and the roles the play in a dish, rather than just what we’re used to seeing them used for.
Think sweet, salty, savory, bitter, sour. Think strawberries, tomatoes, cheese, balsamic.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Yield: About 24 bruschetta.
- honey, 1 tsp
- white balsamic vinegar, 2 tsp
- extra virgin olive oil, 1 Tbs
- strawberries, 1 c (about 12 ea. medium sized)
- Roma tomatoes, 1/2 cup (2 ea)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 baguette or french loaf (or you can even use focaccia (pictured)
- extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup
- freshly ground black pepper
- garlic, 3 cloves, peeled
- balsamic vinegar, 1 cup
- fresh mozzarella, 4 oz.
- mint or basil, 2 sprigs (somewhere between 4 and 8 leaves), rolled and sliced into thin ribbons (chiffonade)
Let’s do it:
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Slice bread at a bias into 1/4 in. slices and arrange on a sheet pan. Drizzle, or brush, with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Once oven is heated, toast bread for 2 to 4 minutes, till edges our browned and surfaces golden.
- Removing from the oven, allow to cool enough to handle. Rub the warm bread with the peeled garlic and set aside.
- While the oven is heating, you can prepare the vinaigrette. Combine the honey and white balsamic vinegar, stirring with a whisk or spoon to combine. Stir in oil.
- Wash and hull the strawberries and tomato. To hull, hold a small paring knife pinching the blade between your thumb and index finger, about 1/2 in. above the tip; grip the handle with your remaining 3 fingers, pointing the edge of the blade away from you. Holding the strawberry or tomato in the opposite hand at a 30-degree angle; insert the knife at the hull/core, up to your finger and rotate to release the hulls (calyx).
- Dice the strawberries and tomatoes, tossing in the dressing to coat. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Let sit (at least 5 minutes to allow flavors to meld).
- For the garnish, prepare a balsamic reduction. In a small pot, bring 1 cup of balsamic vinegar to boil, reducing to a simmer. Allow to simmer until reduced by 1/3. It should coat the back of a spoon but still be fluid (about 5-10 minutes).
- Slice or crumble the mozzarella.
- To build, on each piece of bread, layer mozzarella cheese, and a teaspoon of the strawberry mixture. Another sprinkle of salt and pepper is optional. Drizzle with balsamic reduction and cut herbs.
- Serve and enjoy!
Let me know if you try this please. Thanks for joining me.
- Did you know strawberries aren’t botanically berries, but tomatoes are?
- Feta would be a nice, almost classic, substitute for mozzarella.
- During the demo, I actually used scallions I had on hand but think that if you have mint or basil, it would make a better rounded flavor.
- Serve the strawberry mix anywhere you would salsa: chips, grilled salmon, an omelet, or slice rather than dice and sever over arugula.
For more pictures, check out my albums on Instagram and Facebook @ChefTasteBud.