Bruschetta are a versatile lunch to have on a relaxing day. Toasted bread topped with just about anything you can imagine. What’s not to love? This aubergine and cherry tomato bruschetta with green olive tapenade is a version packed with Mediterranean flavour: pan-fried aubergines and tomatoes with a little bit of salt and garlic, served on an olive tapenade and topped with rocket and pine nuts. Simple and delicious.
If you haven’t tried bruschetta then this is a good place to start. All you have to do for this one is pan-fry the vegetables and run the tapenade ingredients through a food processor, then you are good to go.
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What you need to make this bruschetta
Get the best green olives you can afford. The pitted olives in jars at the supermarkets aren’t always generous on the flavour. Greek olives are usually very good, and if you can get them with the stone still in and remove it yourself, all the better. To remove the olive stone, simply press down on the olive with the flat of a knife. The olive will split and the stone will come free.
Capers are the small flower bud of the Mediterranean Capparis shrub. They are usually sold in jars in brine or vinegar and are available in all supermarkets. Again, get the best ones you can afford.
This adds a base spice to the tapenade, just enough to balance out the tartness of the dish.
You can use fresh garlic if you prefer in the tapenade, as it will chop up with the rest of the ingredients. You want to chop it quite small if you’re using fresh garlic to cook with the vegetables.
Pine nuts are, I believe, an important ingredient in this dish. Much like with pesto, they provide a nutty base that give the tapenade both texture and flavour.
Rocket salad leaves are available in bags in most supermarkets. They are an attractive, quite peppery leaf that works well with a variety of savoury dishes.
Aubergine and Cherry Tomato Bruschetta with Green Olive Tapenade
For the Olive Tapenade:
- 100 g green olives stones removed
- 1 tbsp capers
- Handful of fresh basil leaves
- 1 tsp garlic puree
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 30 g pine nuts
- 150 ml extra virgin olive oil
For the Topping:
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 aubergine sliced into rings
- 10 cherry tomatoes halved
- Pinch salt
- ½ tsp garlic puree
- 4-6 slices of your favourite bread.
- Handful of fresh rocket leaves
- A few pine nuts
- A drizzle of olive oil.
- First, put all of your tapenade ingredients into a food processor and process until fairly smooth but still with some consistency to it. Spoon into a container and set aside.
- To make the topping, heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the aubergine, in two batches if necessary, until they are browned on both sides and soft, about 8 minutes. You may need to add more olive oil as you go along as aubergines suck it up like it’s going out of style.
- Set the aubergines aside and then add a touch more olive oil to the pan. Put the cherry tomatoes in and fry for about 3-4 minutes, flipping them from time to time. You want them softened slightly but not mushy. Add a pinch of salt and the garlic puree and fry for another minute, then turn the heat off the pan.
- To serve, toast your bread and spread a couple of teaspoons of tapenade over one side. Top with 3-4 slices of aubergine and the same amount of cherry tomatoes on top of that. Put on a pinch of the rocket leaves, sprinkle on a few pine nuts and then drizzle with olive oil.
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