My best friend recently had a baby, her second, and lately I have been spending a pleasingly large amount of time over at her house. While she readjusts to life with an infant, I stand beside her and offer whatever assistance I can, mainly in the form of handing her things when she runs out of arms to complete the task herself. This dance of ours is not unlike that of a surgeon and the nurse assisting her in surgery. Diaper? Diaper. Extra wipes? Extra wipes. Coffee? Oh, yes. Coffee!
Aside from the coffee (consumed in only moderate amounts, for those of you who might be prone to concern), we have also been taking part in some delightful light lunches. Sitting in the kitchen while her son sleeps, my best friend and I swipe crackers in to hummus, top slices of bread with egg salad, and wrap big leaves of crisp lettuce around chicken salad with chutney. The conversation and company is always wonderful, but the lunches always seem to cement the reason why we are best friends. Nowhere else will you find two other people whose most favorite meal structure happens to be a composition of bits of things piled on top of other bits of things.
It was with my best friend in mind that I made this fresh, summery bruschetta. Grilled bread, brushed with olive oil, then topped with a garlicky combination of white beans, fresh tomatoes, and a handful of herbs, makes for a highly enjoyable meal, whether you are interested in throwing together a simple dinner for two or a light appetizer for a crowd. Serve this with sturdy crackers for dipping and it transforms into an even more casual affair. Mix it up with some orzo and you’ve got a great summer salad on your hands (and in your mouth). Or you can do what I did: take it over to a friend’s house, place it in the refrigerator, then sit around chatting and enjoying each other’s company until hunger strikes or a certain newborn baby allows for a bit of respite by taking a long afternoon nap (whichever comes first).
Last Year: Tiny Party Sandwiches
White Bean and Tomato Bruschetta Recipe
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 ½ cups chopped tomato, seeds removed
1 ½ cups cooked white beans (canned, rinsed beans are fine)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
salt and pepper to taste
optional: a sprinkling of finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
1 loaf of crusty bread, cut into slices, brushed with olive oil, and grilled until crisp
In a large bowl, combine minced garlic with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Stir to combine, then set aside while you seed and chop the tomatoes. Add tomatoes to garlic and olive mixture, along with the white beans, chopped herbs, salt and pepper. Stir to combine, then taste for seasoning.
To serve, pile on top of slices of grilled bread, then, if using, sprinkle with a bit of grated cheese.