This post is part of the Food Matters Project, a cooking collaboration among participating bloggers. Each week, we will cook a recipe from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook, which places an emphasis on mindful and sustainable eating. Follow along with us!
It’s strawberry season ya’ll! As I browsed my local greenmarket the other day, I was both surprised and delighted to see this bright red and juicy fruit appear around the market. And then I thought…strawberry season already? Really? It can’t be—last time it was strawberry season I was…crossing off the last items of my bucket list as I prepared to graduate. Cue nostalgic mental montage of last day of college classes, submitting my final final paper, a glorious week of debauchery at the beach, and mimosas on the Lawn graduation morning. As I struggled to wrap my mind around the fact that twelve whole months have passed since I donned my cap and gown, I grabbed a pint of slightly overpriced strawberries. I hoped that these sweet bites would help soothe the nostalgic pangs and encourage me to toast a year in the real world.
But what do strawberries have to do with bruschetta? Not much, until I took a good long look at the title of this week’s Food Matters Project recipe, Bruschetta, Rethought, selected by Chef Laura. Rethought. I did my normal read through of Bittman’s recipe, including his list of suggested toppings, but nothing grabbed my attention. A perfectly prepared classic tomato bruschetta with a drizzle of olive oil and ribbons of basil is heavenly on a hot afternoon. But temperatures in NYC have been hovering in the sixties. And to be honest, bruschetta deserves divinely ripe tomatoes at their peak, not the watery variety from the grocery store.
So I went back to thinking. I put that college degree to good use, pondering ways to rethink bruschetta. And then I remembered that pint of strawberries. Who says you can’t make a sweet bruschetta with strawberries? I’m no traditionalist, so I went with it. I spread a thin layer of creamy goat cheese on an evenly toasted slice of bread (pumpernickel, which is what I had lying around). Then I drizzled a bit of honey over the cheese, and layered on some chopped strawberries. To finish, I topped it off with basil. From far away, the red strawberries looked deceptively like tomatoes!
One bite in and I was thrilled I’d taken the sweet route. This version was as fresh and juicy as any classic bruschetta I’ve ever had. It also felt surprisingly versatile, a nice hybrid of the way I ate in college (bread and cheese) and the food I eat now (more fresh and in season produce). Paired with a cup of coffee or tea, it’s a nice light Saturday morning breakfast. Served with a dry glass of white wine, it’s a refreshing appetizer or dessert. Or just eat it on its own as a mid-day snack, as I did, thinking fondly of my college years and excited for a bigger bite of postgrad life.
Clearly I made some changes, and the recipe for my bruschetta is below. For a classic bruschetta recipe and reliable Bittman variations, flip to page 51 of the Food Matters Cookbook, and check out Chef Laura’s creation. See even more ways to rethink bruschetta at the Food Matters Project.
Juliana Barton is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia, who avoided the dining hall by playing lunch lady in her own kitchen. She’s slightly frightened think about next strawberry season, but looks forward to another unconventional strawberry creation. Read more…
Bruschetta, Rethought with Strawberries
2 slices good crusty bread
goat cheese, softened at room temperature
1 teaspoon honey
3-4 strawberries, sliced or chopped
2 basil leaves, ripped or roughly chopped
Toast bread until lightly brown on both sides.
When bread is toasted, spread thin layer of goat cheese on each slice of bread. Then drizzle honey over the cheese. Pile strawberries on the bread in an even layer, and top with basil.