Alex and I recently tried out a new restaurant in Tustin, Centro. They make really good, simple food, with fresh ingredients. Most of the menu is focused around a beautiful tile mosaic covered wood burning stove. Bonus: It’s a winery/brewery tasting room too!
They have plenty of great pizza’s on the menu, but my favorite dish was actually the bruschetta. This is what caused me to say: “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Nothing really unique about the recipe- Tomatoes, basil, balsamic, olive oil, salt- but it was the bread that caught my attention. How many of you have a panini press gathering dust in your cupboards? I do. It comes in handy when you need a panini, but doesn’t really do a whole lot for me the rest of the year. Until now. These folks at Centro used their panini press to toast the bread for the bruschetta. This is usually a job I save for my boiler, but the panini press has a couple advantages:
- It “smooshes” the bread, making it more dense- all the better to absorb those bruschetta juices, while making the bruschetta more stable at the same time.
- It doesn’t make the bread so hard your teeth break (yes, broiler, you have a tendency to do this at times).
So, with a new use for my old tool, I went to work creating a new bruschetta recipe. Here’s the result.
Bruschetta with Whipped Feta and Sautéed Kale
- 8 oz reduced fat cream cheese
- 8 oz feta cheese
- 2 Tbsp Olive oil
- Juice and zest of one lemon
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 2 Tbsp pine nuts
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ¼ c thinly sliced onion
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- Pinch of red pepper
- 5-6 c Kale, chopped
- 2 Tbsp sundried tomatoes, chopped
- 2 Tbsp dried cranberries, chopped
- ¼ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Pepper
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 loaf good sesame or semolina bread
- 1 garlic clove
Make the Whipped Feta. In a food processor, combine cream cheese, feta, olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. Pulse until combined and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Make the Sautéed Kale. First toast the pine nuts in a small pan until golden brown (about 2-3 minutes). Set aside to cool. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and allow to heat a bit until translucent but not brown. Add the red pepper and stir. Increase the heat to high and add the kale. Quickly, stir the kale to allow it to mix with the onions and garlic, and wilt a bit (it should still be bright green). Add the tomatoes, cranberries, salt, pepper, and stir to combine. Add the red wine vinegar and stir again for about 1 minute. The vinegar should reduce quickly. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving dish. Top with the pine nuts. Allow to come to room temperature.
In a panini press (or you can broil the bread), toast the bread until golden. Immediately after you remove the toast, rub the garlic clove on one side of the toast.
To serve, spread the whipped feta on the toast, then top with the kale.