Bruschetta (Grilled Bread)

8 servings

Ingredients

8 slices crusty Italian or French bread, sliced 1/2-inch thick

1 garlic clove, cut in half

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Lightly toast the bread. Rub with the garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Add salt and pepper if desired.

Eat as is or top with your favorite toppings.

White Bean Bruschetta Topping

Makes 8 bruschetta plus enough white bean puree for leftovers

Ingredients

1 cup dried white beans, soaked for at least 6 hours, or overnight, in 1 quart water

1 medium onion, cut in half

2 garlic cloves, cut in half

1 bay leaf

Kosher salt

3 tablespooons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Freshly ground white pepper to taste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

1/4 cup peeled, seeded, and diced summer tomato

1 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

Directions

Drain the beans and transfer to a large, heavy saucepan. Add the onion, 1 of the garlic cloves, the bay leaf, and 1 quart of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Add salt to taste. Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes to an hour, until the beans are thoroughly tender. Drain but save the broth. Discard the onion and bay leaf.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the remaining clove of garlic, the sage and the tomato and saute for 1 minute until the tomato breaks down and the mixture is fragrant. Remove from the heat.

Puree the white beans with the tomato mixture in a food processor. With the machine running, add 2 tablespoons of the bean broth and the lemon juice. Taste and adjust the salt. Add more of the bean broth for a creamier consistency; the mixture should be like moist hummus.

Top the bruschetta with the white bean mixture and sprinkle with the herbs.

Fennel and Shrimp Bruschetta Topping

Makes 8 bruschetta

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 peeled and deveined medium (26-30 count) shrimp

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup thinly sliced fennel (approx. half a head of fennel), reserving feathery tops for garnish

Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

Zest of 1 small orange, chopped

Red pepper flakes to taste

Extra-virgin olive oil to taste

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Cook them in the skillet for about 1½ minutes per side, or until pink and beginning to curl. Remove from the skillet and reserve.

Reduce the heat to medium. In the same skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the garlic and fennel, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes, until tender. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, orange zest and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 more seconds. Remove from the heat. Thinly slice the basil and add it. Check seasoning. To serve, place a portion of the fennel mixture on the bruschetta and top with a shrimp. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil if desired. Garnish with the fennel tops and serve.

Chef Scott Stefanelli has been the chef instructor for the Culinary Institute of Charleston’s fine dining restaurant, 181 Palmer, since it opened in the fall of 2008. In Charleston, he has worked as a chef for Louis’ Charleston Grill, Elliot’s on the Square, JBistro, and the Seashell Restaurant.