Bruschetta is one of those appetizers that I have to order every time I go to an Italian restaurant. Theres something about the soft tomatoes and the crunch of the bread that is mouth watering. This version is not your traditional bruschetta recipe, so please do not think that this recipe comes from the northern hills of Italy. I combined simple ingredients that were already in my fridge, and I added a few special touches to make it just a little more savory and rich.
The herb cream cheese in this recipe is a star on its own. Set the block of cream cheese out on your counter for 20-30 minutes so that it is soft and easy to work with. Combine the dried basil, dried oregano, garlic powder, and cayenne in a bowl. Add in the cream cheese and mix it together until the spices are well combined.
Heat your oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet pan with your bacon. Bake the bacon for 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness. Your kitchen will now smell like heaven – you’re welcome.
Slice the tomatoes in half and set aside. Add olive oil to a pan on medium heat and add the garlic and tomatoes. Sprinkle a 1/2 teaspoon of salt over the tomatoes and cook them until they are soft and just starting to brown on the edges. It should take 8-10 minutes over medium heat.
Toast the slices of bread in a toaster and get a biscuit cutter, or glass if you cannot find your cutters like me. Press firmly down on a piece of bread with the glass and twist around until the bread is separated and you have a nice little round toast.
Top each toast with a dollop of the herb cream cheese. Cut a piece of bacon in half and lay it on top of the cream cheese. Add a generous spoon full of the tomatoes and sprinkle on a few pieces of the fresh basil.
The toasts are absolutely delicious like this,
or you can kick them up a notch by adding a drizzle of a good quality balsamic vinegar or balsamic reduction. I love the balsamic glaze by Monari Federzoni.
It is sweet with the perfect amount of acidity. It is rather inexpensive and most likely at your grocery store.
You can certainly make the herb cream cheese, bacon and tomatoes ahead of time and heat up the tomatoes & bacon right before you serve the bruschetta. I know this is almost a reach by calling these little toasts bruschetta, but I promise you that you will not be disappointed!! Enjoy!
1 package of regular cream cheese (8 oz. block)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
8 slices of bacon
8 pieces of bread (whole wheat, white, sourdough, etc.)
Question for you:
What is your favorite Italian appetizer?