My parents recently returned from visiting my brother and sister-in-law in Italy, where my brother is stationed in the army. While there, they visited Parma and toured a parmesan cheese factory, sampled, learned...and brought me home a hunk of delectable parmesan. Let me tell you this isn't your powdery, green-canned, "parmesan" cheese (ahem, you know who you are kraft) (just kidding, kraft. You know I love you. Always have, always will). This is the real deal. I'm one part hoarding it and one part nibbling sections from the corner when no one's looking.
This recent parmesan acquisition was the inspiration for the birthday dinner I made for the hubs this week. I whipped up this bruschetta that we munched on while grilling pizza for the very first time. The grilled pizza turned out tasty, albeit a tiny bit charred, but it looked...well, it looked like we were auditioning for Worst Cooks in America. And, it was oh-so complicated with all that measuring, kneading, rising, stretching, grilling, etcetera, etcetera. In short, that recipe didn't make the blog cut. The bruschetta, however, looked good, tasted good and passed my easy-enough-to-make-again test.
You know I like easy.
I started with canned tomatoes because I forgot to buy tomatoes. But, the canned tomatoes were just fine. And, I used Basil Olive Oil, because I had a bottle from an Olive Oil store in New Mexico (thanks Kristine!) and I used Fig Balsamic Vinegar because my mom loves me and gives me fancy foodie things like that. Turns out the fig added a nice sweetness to the salty parmesan. Want the recipe? Okay!
Basil Olive Oil & Fig Balsamic Vinegar Bruschetta
1 can petite diced tomatoes, with the liquid
1/8 cup of white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic (or more/less to taste), minced
2 T Basil Olive Oil
1 t ***Fig Balsamic Vinegar (+ more to garnish)
Freshly grated parmesan cheese, to taste.
Salt, to taste
Loaf of crusty french bread plus olive oil to coat
Saute garlic and onion in 1T oil. Add tomatoes and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until liquid begins to thicken slightly. Add vinegar, remaining oil and salt and cool at room temperature. While tomatoes are simmering, take bread and slice into 1-inch thick pieces. Rub oil on one side and place oiled side down on cookie sheet. Bake at 450 degrees until nicely browned. Place a spoonful of tomatoes on each slice of bread and garnish with parmesan cheese OR place tomatoes in a bowl, garnish with cheese and serve as a dip.
***edited to add: I had an inquiry about Fig Balsamic Vinegar. The one I have was a gift and is from a brand called Nappa Valley Naturals (I've seen the same brand at Sprouts). Here is a picture of the bottle from their website. The company's website lists a 12.7 ounce bottle for less than $5, so it's very reasonably priced. It's very similar to regular balsamic vinegar. If you can't find this, experiment with other flavors or just use regular ol' balsamic. No biggie!
I wish you could taste this yummy parmesan cheese.
Want to serve this to your Valentine? I placed a large, heart-shaped cookie cutter on my serving plate and filled that with the tomato mixture. I then carefully removed the cookie cutter and was left with a pretty heart. Oh, presentation really IS everything.
My mom used her parmesan cheese in the Italian Northern Bean Soup that she linked at Thursdays are YOUR days yesterday. It looks delicious and perfect for this cooler weather!
Speaking of our link party, wasn't that fun?? I was so awed by all the wonderful creativity showcased! You guys really blow me away and inspire me every single day.
I want to highlight some of these awesome projects, but since this is my first time hosting a link party, I haven't quite worked out all the kinks. Rest assured, my number one goal in having the weekly party is to spread the inspiration!
Today, because we're talking about bruschetta, I'm highlighting a few more dip recipes that caught my eye yesterday. Go check these yummy recipes out! And, the highlights are sure to continue next week!
|7 Layer Bean Dip by It's Overflowing|
|Mississippi Sin Dip by My Heart's Desire|
|3) Individual Party Dips by Here's to Handy Andy|
There's still time to link up YOUR project at Thursdays are YOUR Days!
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