I'm getting into a bit of a caprese-bacon cooking rut. When I make something with flavors that work, I try and reincorporate the same flavors in another manner, often coming up with slightly similar recipes. I need to check myself. This one is for a tasty appetizer made up of a few components such as spinach pesto - a great way to use up spinach that's about to wilt, bacon, fresh mozzarella cheese, and crunchy, toasted bread. The bread, bacon, and pesto can be prepared ahead of time and assembled the day you need it.
Pesto is one of my favorite spreads to make. It's not limited to just basil, and you can use any combination of green leafy roughage (or even sun dried tomatoes or peas!) and nuts you can think of to combine, like the all-purpose cilantro pesto. You can use pesto it as a sandwich spread, a dip for vegetables or dip, with fish or meat, and of course pasta.
I added bacon because I wanted the flavor to mix with the rest of the ingredients. It's used in two ways here, both the bacon strips on top, and the grease that's spread on the bread before it is toasted. If you prefer to leave it out, substitute olive oil for the bacon grease.
Since the bread is the base, make sure you get a really good baguette. It makes a difference in flavor, and good bread always tastes even better when toasted.
So whip up these tasty treats for your next party. They'd make a good addition to football gatherings, birthdays, showers, holiday finger food spreads, or even dinner, in which case you could use larger slices of bread and turn it into a panino.
Recipe after the jump.
Caprese Bruschetta with Spinach Pesto and Bacon
Recipe by Christina Provo
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A tasty appetizer with a nod to the Italian favorite and the American sandwich classic.
Top Five: Bacon, spinach, baguette, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10
8 slices bacon
16 1/2 inch baguette slices (sliced on the diagonal)
1/2 cup walnuts
2 small garlic clove
4 cups baby spinach, slightly packed
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
16 thin slices of Roma tomato, from about 2 tomatoes
16 slices fresh mozzarella cheese, cut to the size of the baguette rounds
- Preheat oven to 425°F and position oven rack two levels from the top. In a large skillet, cook bacon until crispy; reserve two tablespoons bacon grease. Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel. When somewhat cool, break each piece into fourths.
- Brush top side of baguettes with reserved bacon grease. Place on rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until edges begin to brown. Remove from oven.
- In the bowl of a food processor place walnuts and garlic. Process until finely chopped. Remove lid and add spinach, oil, and salt. Continue processing until spinach is completely chopped and mixture comes together. Spoon out into bowl.
- To assemble bruschetta, layer first with a slice of tomato and fresh mozzarella cheese. Dollop with a level tablespoon of pesto and top with two pieces of bacon. Place on platter and serve.