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Bruschetta on the Barbie


Bruschetta, the traditional Italian garlic bread grilled over coals or wood, is a good appetizer for summer entertaining. The grilled surfaces of the bread are rubbed with cut garlic, then drizzled with olive oil and typically served with toppings.

I sometimes like to make a meal of bruschetta. Two of my favorite toppings are herbed goat cheese with roasted red peppers and shrimp salad. The toppings can be prepared a day ahead; it's easy to spread them on the warm bread slices just before you eat.

Choose the highest quality crusty baguette and cut it at an exaggerated angle to produce the largest 1/2-inch thick slice, about 3x5 inches. Grill until light grill marks appear, leaving the inside of the bread soft.

Basic Bruschetta

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 10 minutes * Vegetarian

4 (1/2-inch-thick) large baguette slices

1 clove garlic, split

4 teaspoons olive oil


Freshly ground pepper

Heat a charcoal or gas grill or stove-top grill pan over medium-high heat.

Grill one side of the bread until light grill marks appear, 2 to 4 minutes. Lightly rub the grilled surface with the garlic. Place the bread on a plate and drizzle each slice with 1 teaspoon of oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper.

4 servings. Each serving: 114 calories; 246 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 5 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 15 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 0.88 gram fiber.


Capri Shrimp Salad Bruschetta

Active Work Time and Total Preparation Time: 15 minutes

10 large cooked shrimp (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 1/3-inch dice

2/3 cup minced fennel

2 tablespoons light mayonnaise

1 tablespoon minced red onion

1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill

2 teaspoons capers, drained

1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

4 firm cherry tomatoes, quartered

4 warm slices Basic Bruschetta

Small dill sprigs, for garnish

Combine the shrimp, fennel, mayonnaise, red onion, dill, capers and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Toss to mix. (This can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.) Toss in the tomatoes.

To serve, spoon the shrimp salad on warm bruschetta slices, dividing evenly. Garnish with dill sprigs. Serve immediately.

4 servings. Each serving: 200 calories; 463 mg sodium; 99 mg cholesterol; 8 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 18 grams carbohydrates; 13 grams protein; 1.75 grams fiber.


Basil Bruschetta With Goat Cheese

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 20 minutes * Vegetarian

5 ounces soft goat cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, divided

1 tablespoon minced sweet onion, such as Vidalia

2 teaspoons olive oil, divided


Freshly ground pepper

1 red bell pepper

1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

4 warm slices Basic Bruschetta

Combine the cheese, 2 tablespoons of basil, onion and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. (This can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Serve at room temperature.)

Heat the grill or broiler.

Cut the sides off the pepper in 4 slabs. Place them skin side down on the grill or skin side up beneath the broiler until blackened, about 5 minutes. Wrap in foil. When just cool enough to handle, remove the skins. Cut into 1-inch strips and toss with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil and the vinegar. (This can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Before using, bring to room temperature.) Toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of basil.

Spread the goat cheese mixture on the warm bruschetta, dividing evenly. Top with the red peppers.

4 servings. Each serving: 272 calories; 503 mg sodium; 28 mg cholesterol; 18 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 18 grams carbohydrates; 11 grams protein; 1.62 grams fiber.

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