I had the pleasure of dining at a fantastic Tapas restaurant in East Village this Friday with my boyfriend at a place named The Barrel, where among many delicacies they served some excellent bruschetta. Inspired by the way their tomato topping seemed to burst with freshness on my tongue, I decided to give it a go in my own kitchen, despite my lack of basil. It turns out cilantro works just as well!
Cilantro Bruschetta on Prosciutto
Ingredients: (serves 4)
1 large tomato, diced into 1/4″ cubes
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 baguette, or equivalent bread
prosciutto, thinly sliced
3-4 leaves cilantro (original recipe uses basil), chopped
Using a sharp knife, dice the tomato as small as you can. Aim for 1/4″ cubes, and be sure your knife is sharp – dull knives tend to mash the tomato, releasing the juices onto the cutting board, which we don’t want. We want the juices to explode in our mouths with each bite!
Next, chop up the raw onion and add it to the mix. An alternative to using raw onion is to saute it lightly before using on the grill – this gives it a less crunchy, but sweeter flavor.
Add the minced garlic, chopped cilantro, parsley flakes, salt, and pepper to the mix and drizzle with lemon juice. Blend, and set the topping aside.
In a medium skillet, brush both sides of each baguette slice (or French bread, or sourdough in my case) with olive oil and heat until both sides are lightly crispy. On a plate, top each slice with a generous spoonful of bruschetta topping and mozzarella cheese, and serve with prosciutto garnished with cilantro. Enjoy!