There is an Italian restaurant nearby that serves up some pretty awesome bruschetta. A few things I've noticed about it:
The tomatoes are peeled and of good quality (not mealy or freakishly red like those at Taco Bell- seriously, what's up with that?)
They're not skimpy with the fresha pepper.
They are skimpy with the fresh basil, and even if you ask for more they still won't bring much.
With these notes in mind, I set out to create some bruschetta, but having no decent bread in the house (or even at our little town store) I decided to give it a bit of a twist. Potato Skin Bruschetta. And it was awesome.
When my Grandma was still around (and what I wouldn't give to have her back again) we shared a little secret. After family meals were over she would take whatever potato skins were left on the plates and roast them up with a little garlic and a whole lot of butter. There was often hardly any potato left on the skins. Potatoless skins, you might call them. They were awesome, too. But you want a little potato left on these. 1/4" border will help them to keep their shape. On to the recipe. Potato Skin Bruschetta Yield: 1 serving
For the Bruschetta: 4 Roma Tomatoes 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed (I used 2) 4-6 basil leaves, julienned (you can guess how much I used) 1 tsp balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp olive oil 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper 1/4 tsp salt Other ingredients: 1 Russet Potato 2 tbsp Pinenuts Garlic oil/ butter/ earth balance (your choice- I used garlic oil)
Preheat oven to 400F and bring a large pot of water to boil. Pierce potato several times with a fork and roast for about an hour. Meanwhile, remove stems from tomatoes and use a paring knife to cut an X across their bottoms. Place in boiling water for 1 minute, then remove. When they are cool enough to handle their skins should be easy to peel off. Scoop out their seeds and membranes using a small spoon or your fingers, and chop. Add to a bowl and mix with rest of bruschetta ingredients. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use. Briefly toast your pine nuts in a small frying pan with no oil, medium heat just until fragrant and set aside. When potato is finished, remove from oven and let cool on wire rack for about 10 minutes, until cool enough to handle. Increase oven temperature to 475. Scoop out flesh from potato, leaving 1/4" border intact, reserve flesh for later use. Brush both inside and outside with butter or oil of choice. Place flesh side down and roast for 6 minutes, then turn over and roast another 6 minutes until edges are golden. Top with chilled bruschetta and pine nuts and serve immediately.