Bruschetta comes in more variations at Ashland’s Salame than any other restaurant I’ve frequented.
The prospect of not one, or two or three but 10 toppings for toasted bread (one of my husband’s favorite appetizers) drew us to the new Plaza eatery for the most recent Tempo dining column.
Dessert bruschetta, however, is one item that didn’t make Salame’s list. In truth, I’d never thought of serving bruschetta as the final course before McClatchy News Service moved this recent story on the concept.
It’s commonplace in Italy, writes Lauren Chattman, to use day-old bread to make rustic little grilled chocolate, cheese, and fruit tarts. For best results, start with leftover slices of an artisan loaf and brush both sides with with olive oil or melted butter before grilling. Not only will this add flavor, but it will promote caramelization. (Don’t forget to clean grill grids well before making dessert, so sweet bruschetta doesn’t have a hint of barbecue sauce.)
Here are a few topping combinations, plus a recipe for bruschetta with peaches, courtesy of McClatchy. See the next edition of A la Carte for our spread on summer peaches.
Grilled Cinnamon Toast: Brush slices of country bread with butter, grill until one side is golden, flip, sprinkle grilled sides with cinnamon sugar and continue to grill until second side is toasted.
Cinnamon-Sugar and Banana Toast: Just add sliced bananas to grilled cinnamon toast. Nice on a long, skinny baguette.
S’mores Bruschetta: Toast crusty whole-wheat bread (graham crackers originally were made with whole wheat), brush with melted butter, slather on marshmallow cream, top with a few squares of chocolate and return to the grill for 30 seconds to let the chocolate and marshmallow cream soften.
Nutella and Maldon Sea Salt Bruschetta: Brush bread with olive oil, grill, turning once, until both sides are golden, slather with Nutella and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Or you could substitute dulce de leche for the Nutella, for sea salt and caramel bruschetta.
White Chocolate and Blueberry Bruschetta: Grill buttered bread, let some chopped white chocolate get soft on top and then sprinkle with berries. Good on white bread; great on slices of a sunflower or hazelnut loaf.
Goat Cheese, Sweetened Strawberries, and Balsamic Vinegar: Brush bread with olive oil, toast on both sides, top with goat cheese, macerated strawberries, a drizzle of vinegar and a few grinds of black pepper.
Greek Yogurt, Figs and Honey Bruschetta: Try this combination on semolina bread with raisins and fennel.
Sweet Bruschetta With Peaches
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
Eight (½-inch-thick) slices crusty country bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
2 peaches, pitted and sliced
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans, walnuts, almonds, pine nuts or pistachios
Preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, heavy cream and vanilla. Brush the bread slices on both sides with oil.
Clean grill grids thoroughly with a wire brush. Grill bread slices until bottoms are golden and marked by the grill, for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn, sprinkle with the salt and grill for another minute or two. Transfer to a serving platter.
Spread cream cheese mixture over bread slices. Arrange the sliced peaches on top of cheese. Drizzle with the honey and sprinkle with the nuts. Serve immediately. Makes 6 to 8 servings.