Lately, I've been obsessed with making bite-sized appetizers. I actually got a great appetizer cookbook – of course, the name escapes me right now – that focuses on all types of bite-sized apps. Skewers, wonton cups, pastry puffs, one-bite pizzas, itty-bitty sliders, etc. It's fuel for my culinary creative fire.
So for our mini dinner party on Saturday, I decided to make two bite-sized apps: bruschetta bites and crispy wonton mushroom cups. The bruschetta bites are so easy, full of traditional Italian flavors – think tomato, basil, garlic, olive oil – and the topping can be made a day in advance. They were a hit so I'm sharing them with you.
Here's how you make them:
- 1/2 baguette or crusty long loaf bread, sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 2 large cloves garlic, diced
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing and drizzling
- 5 small plum tomatoes, halved and seeded
- 20 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- Coarse sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat broiler to high (if you prefer you can also grill the bread). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Brush each piece of bread with extra virgin olive oil and top with a pinch of sea salt, ground pepper and grated Parmesan cheese. Place bread slices on pan and broil until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Important: Keep and eye on the bread, as an extra few seconds can mean the difference between golden brown and really, really burned.
Cut bread into bite-sized pieces
Place tomatoes, garlic and basil chiffonade in a small bowl. But wait one second; what if you don't know how to make a chiffonade cut? Here's Chiffonade 101: Pile basil leaves onto top of each other, roll into a tight cigar-like spiral and slice very thinly from one end to the other.
Step 1: Pile basil leaves on top of each other
Step 3: Slice very thinly from one end to the other
Basil photos courtesy of Flickr: TeenyTinyTurkey
Add a drizzle of oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to the tomato, garlic and basil timxture. Gently toss to coat.
Gently toss tomato and basil mixture
Place a small spoonful of tomato mixture on individual toast slices. Top with a slice or two of basil. Serve immediately.