With summer in full swing it is so easy to delight your guests! Stop by a local farmers market, take a look around (doesn’t it all look mouth watering?) and hand over some cash for some freshly grown produce. Both of these appetizers require no cooking at all. Just think-you don’t even have to turn the oven on, and in a matter of moments you can have incredibly flavorful food and your guests will be impressed.
My absolute favorite “go-to” appetizer during the summer months features tomatoes. We only have access to really flavorful ones so many months out of the year, so I’m of the belief that we should use them as often as possible. You probably don’t really need a recipe for “bruschetta” but there are a few pointers that will set yours apart from the rest. Use tomatoes that are home grown or from a farmers market or shop that you trust. Search out good bread-it should be somewhat dense-not a baguette-more of an artisanal type loaf. If you have a bakery that makes bread, go there. In the San Diego area, I’ve come to love Con Pane in Point Loma and their Pain Au Levain (French Country). It is flavorful, dense and the perfect foil for the tomatoes. Next up is the olive oil- extra virgin and use the best that you can afford. It does make a difference. Last ingredient is basil-it must be fresh. Grill the bread (I use the gas grill), rub with garlic while hot, top with chopped tomatoes that have been tossed with extra virgin olive oil, freshly chopped basil, salt and pepper and a little chopped garlic. Watch this disappear.
Fresh figs. You either love them or you don’t. I love them, J. hates them. I can’t wait for them to appear at the market stands. These are so easy to prepare. Slice in half. Wrap in thinly sliced prosciutto. Perfetto! Slice in half, top with gorgonzola and a roasted walnut. That’s it. You’re done. Did I say how much I love summer cooking?