Bruschetta has become almost synonymous with tomatoes, but you needn't shelve this crowd-pleasing appetizer just because tomato season is over. In fact, the name of the lightly toasted bread dish derives from the word bruscare, a verb in the Roman dialect meaning "to roast over coals"—there's nothing in there about tomatoes at all.
Jason Denton and Kathryn Kellinger's bruschetta alla romana, reprinted from Simple Italian Snacks, is a tomatoless bruschetta for a winter's evening. Bold flavors like red pepper flakes and anchovies, puréed and drizzled over medallions of mozzarella, make a punchy little starter. Serve warm, with a crisp white wine.
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- Yield:8 bruschetta
- 2 egg yolks
- 4 or 6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 3 anchoves
- 4 tabelspoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened
- 2 tabelspoons fresh lemon juice
- 8 baguette slices, cut 1/2 inch thick on the diagonal, toasted
- 8 ounces best-quality mozzarella, cut into 8 slices
- Freshly ground black pepper
In a blender, combine the egg yolks, olive oil, red pepper flakes, anchoves, butter, and lemon juice. Puree to a smooth consistency.
Arrange the toasts on a baking tray, and top each one with a slice of mozzarella. Under a broiler or in a toaster oven, grill the cheese until it melts and bubbles. Remove the tray from the broiler and transfer the toasts to a serving platter. Spoon the anchovy sauce over each bruschetta, and finish with freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.