Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Butternut "bruschetta" on sourdough toasts

I wanted to make a fancy-looking appetizer for the cookie swap/party I had this weekend, and came up with the idea to do a twist on the typical bruschetta using very finely diced butternut squash instead of tomato. I used maple syrup, sage and chili powder to give it both sweet and savory flavors, some bacon for extra dimension (we used soy "bacon" because we had some vegetarians coming to the party; you could use real bacon or even crumbled sausage if you prefer), and then some apple at the very end to give it a little crunch.

I'd suggest to start by peeling and chopping all the ingredients, as this is the most time consuming part of the recipe. I used:

4 c. butternut squash (about half of a large squash), peeled and finely diced
4-5 strips (soy) bacon, also diced
1 c. firm apple (about one Granny Smith or similar), diced. Toss with a little lemon juice to keep from browning.

2-3 Tbsp. good quality maple syrup
4-5 leaves fresh sage, crushed
1/2+ tsp. chili powder (adjust to taste)
1/2 tsp. salt
a few grinds fresh black pepper

1 large sourdough baguette (or 2 small), sliced into 1/4-1/2 inch thick pieces and toasted under the broiler

If you choose to use real bacon, start off by cooking this over medium heat in a large saucepan, until the pieces have crisped - this should happen pretty quickly. [If you use the fake bacon, skip this step and instead heat up 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil in the pan] Add the butternut squash, maple syrup, spices (sage through pepper) and sautee with occasional stirring until the squash has softened, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped soy bacon at this point. Cook another 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and mix in the apple - I left it mostly raw so it would give a nice crunch (to contrast the 'mushiness' of the squash). Spoon ~1 Tbsp. or so onto each toasted slice of sourdough and arrange on a plate. These taste best warm or at room temperature.


Patricia Scarpin said...

Jackie, this recipe looks good and seems to be very healthy, too - I like it - wouldn't trade the real bacon for the one you used, though. :D

Jackie said...

well, "healthy" probably depends on how much olive oil/bacon you use. Normally I would go with real bacon too, but I had to think of the vegetarians. Plus, I wanted to get rid of the fake bacon! Its flavor is great, but the color/texture aren't good enough to eat it as breakfast. It's hard to take "bacon" seriously when it looks like Fruit Stripe gum! :)