How are we all?
Hot and sticky? Yes, me too. Hottest day of the year and I am writing this in my attic studio, the place where all the heat rises to. The place where it’s a long way to run down to shut the French doors when the storm finally breaks.
Yesterday (2nd hottest day of the year) I baked these bruschettas to share with you. Well, I say share, I ate all these after I photographed them, but I’ll share the concept with you at least.
The concept is simple, it’s just my version of the Bruschetta at Pizza Express.
If you’ve had those and liked them, these are pretty damned close. Especially this one which is a unashamed rip off of their recipe:
Next I fancied some ash coated goats cheese. It needed something with tang to balance it so I went for beetroot flavoured with juniper and black pepper. Rocket for pretty, green pepperiness and pine nuts that I inevitably burned as I got distracted for half a millisecond whilst toasting.
This is The Earthy One:
After that I needed a palette cleanser. The first broad beans are just appearing in the garden, so they were next up, with some fresh peas, herby oil made with whatever herbs I could find, a courgette flower and a few parmesan shavings.
This one’s Garden Fresh, so it is.
Use the bread dough to make 12 bruschettas, or just make 4 for starters plus a couple of ‘one man’ pizza bases.
The dough can sit in the fridge for a few hours after proving if you want to make it in advance, just get it out an hour or so before you need it to let it come back to room temperature.
Although today, room temperature is kind of oven temperature. I’m not complaining, honest. Just a bit clammy.
The Bready Bit
50g/4 level Tbsp Quick Cook Polenta
½pt/300ml Boiling Water
400g Flour (I use half strong bread flour/half plain flour)
7g Sachet Instant Yeast
1¼ tsp Salt
Some melted butter
Put the polenta in a jug and top up to ½pt with boiling water, stir and leave to soften for a minute.
Add the butter and stir until melted.
Allow to cool a little whilst you put the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl, or your mixer bowl.
When the liquid is ‘warm’ not hot add this to the flour and mix.
Ideally mix in a stand mixer with a dough hook for 10 minutes, or knead by hand.
When you have a soft, pliable dough dust with a little flour, cover and prove for 1 hour.
Take chunks of the dough (about 60g) and roll out into oval shapes.
Slash the breads with a very sharp knife or grignette
Dust them with flour…or semolina if you have it.
Leave to rest on the worktop whilst you preheat the oven to 220-240ºc – really hot!
Place a sturdy pan in the oven to heat up too.
Working quickly, to retain the heat, dust the hot tray with a little semolina or flour, put the breads on the tray and get them back into the oven for around 5-6 minutes.
When they come out of the oven brush immediately all over with melted butter.
Top with delicious things like the suggestions below and eat IMMEDIATELY!
Pizza Express Style
Peeled, chopped, deseeded tomatoes
Finely Chopped Red Onion
Rich and Earthy
Ash coated goats cheese
Beetroot (the small, cooked ones from the vegetable aisle)
Garlic olive oil
Blanched broad beans
Herb Oil (Fresh herbs crushed in a pestle and mortar with oil and salt)