Single guy cooking blogger Jeff Lail serves up a quick and easy dish that will be the perfect appetizer for a romantic date.
I’ve never really been one for appetizers, preferring to make my food and then eat it on the spot, not eat in stages. I wasn’t raised in a home where we had “appetizers” (or come to think of it, bread, prior to a meal), and being a single man, this version of meal foreplay has amplified my disinterest in anything resembling hors d’oeuvres. When preparing food just for me, it’s hard enough to eat all of the leftovers before it goes bad. Food that doesn’t directly connect to the main dish seems a little counter-intuitive, in my opinion.
There’s one exception to my appetizer rule ― when I’m entertaining a date. In my experience, appetizers (along with opening a bottle of wine) are a wise way to get the conversation flowing regardless of main course plans.
One of my dates introduced to me to bruschetta and I’ve returned the favor by making it for her a few times since. It works nicely with a bottle of white wine, especially a Riesling, and keeps well in the refrigerator for next day snacking.
The best thing is that bruschetta will make even the most average of cook look epicurean. It feels high-end, but is incredibly simple to make and relies more on good ingredients than expert preparation.
You can make your own variations on this dish; some people add a slice of mozzarella on top, some people add different vegetables. This one is my favorites, but feel free to experiment and try something new. Tell us about it in the comment section below.
1 loaf of French bread
1 package of basil leaves
1 clove of garlic
1 red onion
Chop the red tomato, red onion and basil leaves and place into a large mixing bowl. Crush the garlic clove and add to the vegetable mixture. Add a tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar to the mixture (the amount of balsamic will differ based on the volume of the vegetables). Start with the tablespoon and taste after mixing, then add more if needed. Mix and let it rest while you make the bed.
Slice the French bread into slices than are about a half-inch thick. I liked slicing at an angle as it adds some extra surface area and provides a unique look to the bread. Cover a baking pan with the bread, add some olive oil on each slice and place under the broiler. These cook fast, so pay attention. It should be done in less than 5 minutes.
Take a spoon and place a scoop of the vegetable-balsamic mix on each bread slice. Serve and enjoy!
Jeff Lail blogs about his joy of singular cooking at Single Guy Cooking/Single People Can Cook Too. He works at a university by day, running events for students, but by night, he’s a single guy gastro-sexual (someone who uses their cooking skills to attract potential dates). Although he’s never cooked professionally, he’s trying to learn to cook better for himself (and his hungry dates).