"Acorns were good until bread was found."-Francis Bacon
Recipe Three: Masala Bread (Indian Brushetta)
What is it? Appetizer
Source: This simple and delicious appetizer recipe comes from PR friend Amee from Rabbit Food Rocks. Her blog is all about vegetarian fare and as the tagline puts it "you won't miss the meat here.." and it's easy to see why. Filled with delicious recipes, veggie friendly restaurant reviews and guest posts from fellow vegetarian bloggers, it's a good resource to keep on your blog roll whether you're vegetarian, trying to go meatless in March or simply looking for recipes that lend to a more balanced diet. It can't go without being mentioned that PR's favorite part of RFR is the Amee humor that is occasionally infused in her posts. To illustrate said food meets humor, I'll provide a personal example. For a lovely shower present, Amee put together a super handy (and filled with colorful commentary) recipe book for me and lovingly entitled it: How To Feed a Guju Vegetarian Husband (and Others) With the Least Amount of Effort Possible. I'm begging her to publish it to help other poor souls like myself, but until that happens, we can all benefit from the culinary guidance Rabbit Food Rocks provides.
Tidbits: This Indian inspired dish is a good stepping stone towards full on Indian cooking while still having the familiar feel of brushetta. However, Amee mentions that while a simple dish, the heating of the tomato mixture makes it quintessentially Indian especially the timing. She says, "Step 6 is where this dish gets the Indian in Indian cooking. No measurements. No clocks. You cook this mixture on the skillet for an arbitrary period of time. This is what I do: a) pick a number b) add the number after it c) add 9 d) divide by 2 e) subtract the number you picked in the first place f) cook for this many minutes, then turn off the heat." Basically, cook until you see fit. She also suggests, "For brushing oil on the bread, invest in a good cooking brush with natural or silicone bristles-an Oral B will not do." The dish can also be served as a different appetizer as salsa and a side dish. See notes below. The recipe requires a food processor or blender or as Amee says "really great teeth".
Prep time: 10 min, Cook Time: 10 min; Serves 4
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 small bunch cilantro
3 ripe Roma tomatoes
2 serrano peppers, stems removed
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbs. oil (olive, vegetable or canola)
1/2 loaf French bread, sliced 3/4 inches thick
1. Make one single cut across the stems of the cilantro bunch removing most of the thick stems. Discard the stems. Coarsely chop the rest of the bunch into thirds.
2. Coarsely chop the tomatoes. (Cut each tomato in half, lengthwise, and then cut each half into four or six pieces)
3. Remove the stems from the serrano peppers. Cut each serrano pepper in half, for a total of four pieces. (Approximately 1.5 serrano peppers is what is needed for this recipe to make it medium-hot spicy)
4. Put the garlic cloves in the food processor first and pulse until all of the cloves are chopped into tiny pieces and stuck to the walls of the food processor bowl. Scrape the sides down and all of the tomatoes, cilantro, half of the serrano peppers, turmeric and salt. Pulse again. The mixture should resemble a fine puree/salsa/soupy consistency. Taste with a small spoon and adjust heat by adding the rest of the serrano peppers, if desired.
5. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Gently add the puree. It should start to sizzle.
6. Cook for a few minutes. See tidbits for guidance.
7. Brush both sides of the bread slices with oil.
8. Using a grill pan or grill, grill both sides of the bread for three minutes on each side over medium-high heat. Let both sides of the bread get crispy.
9. Top each slice with tomato-cilantro mixture. Serve immediately while it's hot.
Notes: Steps 5 and 6 can be skipped for a cold version. However, Amee recommends, "by cooking the mixture in a little oil over the heat, you're allowing the flavors to you know, bump and grind." To prepare this as salsa, prepare until step 4, serve in a small bowl with Indian pappdum chips. For a side dish, instead of cutting the French bread loaf in slices, cut the entire length loafwise. Proceed with steps 1-6, then spread the mixture over one half of the loaf. Top with the other half of the loaf. Cover the loaf and bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven, slice and then serve on a platter for a garlic bread-like treat.
image source: amee shah