Admittedly, bananas are an unusual choice for bruschetta. But as I stared down a heap of soon-to-be-brown bananas and considered their sometimes savoury uses elsewhere in the world, I couldn’t think of a good reason not to try them on a simple summer bruschetta.
Like potatoes, bananas are starchy, meaning they do a nice job of absorbing other flavours. The difference is the sugar content. But making that work in a savoury dish is just a matter of balance. Add some heat, some salt, some acid and it should be good to go.
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So that’s where I started. I gave some banana slices a quick splash of lime juice and olive oil, followed by a sprinkle of kosher salt and cayenne. I then set that over some arugula (the bitter greens are a nice contrast to the sweet bananas) on a slice of sourdough. A final topping of shredded manchego and my so-very-not-Italian bruschetta was ready for the oven.
The result? Oddly, unexpectedly good. Seriously. It’s the perfect open-face sandwich to accompany a salad for a summer lunch or light dinner. And it’s ready in no time.
But if you simply refuse to trust me on the bananas, substitute sliced fresh peaches or even thin slices of apple. Either alternative is quite delicious. Still not buying it? I’ve also included my favourite tomato bruschetta, which is made more delicious than normal thanks to a pat of butter added at the end.
Start to finish: 10 minutes
1 large ripe banana, peeled
15 ml (1 tbsp) lime juice
15 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil
2 slices sourdough bread
250 ml (1 cup) arugula
Pinch kosher salt
125 ml (1/2 cup) grated manchego cheese
Heat the oven to 230 C (450 F).
Slice the banana in half crosswise, then slice each piece in half lengthwise to create a total of 4 pieces. Place the banana slices in a small bowl, then drizzle with the lime juice and olive oil. Gently toss the bananas to coat, then set aside.
Top each slice of bread with half of the arugula, then set 2 bananas slices over each. Sprinkle each with a bit of cayenne and salt, then half of the cheese. Toast for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starting to brown. Serve immediately.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 380 calories; 140 calories from fat (37 per cent of total calories); 16 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 20 mg cholesterol; 43 g carbohydrate; 18 g protein; 3 g fiber; 820 mg sodium.
BUTTERY ROASTED TOMATO BRUSCHETTA
Start to finish: 25 minutes
4 plum tomatoes
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 large slices sourdough bread
15 ml (1 tbsp) chopped fresh rosemary
45 ml (3 tbsp) butter, cut into very small pieces
Heat the oven to 260 C (500 F).
Cut each tomato in half top-to-bottom, then trim out the tough stem area at the top of each half. Use your fingers to scoop out and discard the pulpy-watery centre of each half, then place the tomatoes in a medium bowl. Drizzle the tomatoes with about 30 ml (2 tbsp) of oil, then toss to coat.
Arrange the tomatoes on a baking sheet, then season liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, or until starting to brown.
Meanwhile, drizzle the bread with a bit of olive oil, then sprinkle half of the rosemary over each. During the final 5 minutes the tomatoes are roasting, add the bread to the oven to toast.
Remove the bread and tomatoes from the oven. Use a spoon to immediately arrange 4 tomato halves over each slice of bread. Sprinkle half of the butter pieces over each, then return the bruschetta to the oven for 1 minute, or until the butter just melts.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 570 calories; 410 calories from fat (73 per cent of total calories); 46 g fat (15 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 45 mg cholesterol; 33 g carbohydrate; 6 g protein; 3 g fiber; 810 mg sodium.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Food Editor J.M. Hirsch is author of the cookbook “High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking.” Follow him to great eats on Twitter at 杭州桑拿按摩论坛twitter杭州龙凤/JM_Hirsch or email him at jhirsch(at)ap杭州龙凤.