Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bruschetta, Mexican Style


So there I was with most of a day-old baguette to use up and no good ideas. I wanted to make some bruschetta, but darned if I wasn't out of olive oil and garlic, 2 of the 3 essential ingredients of bruschetta. So I took a tour of my kitchen cupboards to see what was available and came up with enough good stuff to improvise a Mexican style bruschetta that turned out to be a huge success. It was one of those happy moments when the food gods were with me.

This recipe was made on the fly, going by eye and flavor, so the list of ingredients is in approximate amounts. You will have to wing it a bit, and of course you can change the ingredients to suit your own taste. Cut on the diagonal, I had enough bread to make four big slices about an inch thick, which was plenty for the two of us when combined with a couple of side dishes. Note that I toasted the bread in the oven rather than broiling it, as I wasn't sure how the nonstick cooking spray would react to broiling. And you may notice that I added no salt; with the chilorio, I didn't feel it needed extra salt, but you may add it if you want to.

BRUSCHETTA, MEXICAN STYLE

Ingredients:
  • 1 loaf day-old French bread (or some day old bolillos would work, too!)
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 (170 gram) can Chata brand chilorio
  • 3 large Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 small white onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, deveined and diced
  • Cilantro, chopped (the amount is up to you)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Grated or crumbled Mexican cheese (Queso Fresco, Oaxaca, whatever; choose your favorite)
Directions:

Heat oven to 375 degrees

Make a pico de gallo salsa by mixing tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice in a small nonreactive (such as glass or pottery) bowl. Set aside.

Empty the chilorio into a small frying pan and heat it on medium heat until it is good and hot. Then remove it to a plate lined with a double thickness of paper towels to drain the fat. Set aside.

While chilorio is cooking/draining, slice the loaf of French bread diagonally, about an inch thick per slice, so that you have 4 generous slices. Spray both sides of sliced bread lightly with cooking spray and arrange on baking sheet. Toast in 375 degree oven till top is golden, then turn and toast the other side.

When the bread is golden and crisp, remove from oven and spread with chilorio, using an equal amount on each slice. Spoon pico de gallo generously over the chilorio, covering the bread all the way to the edges. Sprinkle a good Mexican cheese over the top (again, don't skimp!) and put back into the oven until the cheese begins to melt.

Remove from oven and serve immediately, so it doesn't get soggy.

I served this with a side of guacamole, some olives and some sour cream. Use your imagination-- or work with what's in your cupboards-- to develop your own list of sides.

Of course I'm sure it would have been even better if I had rubbed each toasted slice with garlic as it came out of the oven. Isn't everything better with garlic?

Buen provecho!

If you have a favorite recipe for a Mexican or Mexican-inspired dish, I'd love to add it to our recipe box! email lahuerita2@gmail.com (and put "recipe" in the subject box so I'll know what it's about)