Bruschetta Bites + A Basil Chiffonade "How-To"

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.

Bruschetta Bites

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

Brush with olive oil, a pinch of salt & pepper and Parmesan

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 2: Roll tightly into cigar-like cylinder

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.

Finished Bruschetta

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