Ever wonder what it’s like to be a Top Chef? BravoTV.com wants to put your skills to the test with Top Chef Home Edition! Check out the weekly challenges, get inspired and share your dishes! Thanks to BravoTV.com for sponsoring this post and for inspiring me to get creative in the kitchen with this beet & blueberry bruschetta.
It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Top Chef so when the folks at BravoTV.com asked me to help spread the word about Top Chef Home Edition it took all of a hot second to say “yes!” Here’s the deal: Each week there are new challenges and the opportunity to share your dishes with your friends using #TopChefHome. One of this week’s challenges is all about making a better bruschetta with fresh ingredients – want to join me?
When I agreed to participate I did so before learning about the challenge, so I spent a few panic-stricken days wondering if I would need liquid nitrogen, or a sous vide machine, or if I would be subjected to rigorous Bucose d’Or type skills tests. Would foams be required? Would I have to recreate Hung’s famous quick-fire edible village scene made with items from the breakfast aisle?
Oh, the drama. It was so Top Chef.
Panic subsided when I learned the challenge: make a better bruschetta. Hah! I can do that!
Or could I? Doubt creeped in with the thought of turning a traditional bruschetta (a classic combination of fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, and basil piled on toasted bread) into something new and unexpected. Oh, and share it all over social media. No pressure.
So I did what any Top Chef contestant would do – I grabbed a notebook, a cocktail, my thinking cap and stayed up until the wee hours planning my better bruschetta.
I realize, dear reader, I’ve already given it away and you’re probably thinking “I know! You made a bruschetta with beets and blueberries! It’s in the title, so get on with it!” So I’ll spare you the play-by-play soul-searching extravaganza that was my bruschetta planning session and, instead, cut to the chase…
Why the heck did I use beets and blueberries?
First, despite 90 degree temperatures outside, I’ve been roasting a whole lot of vegetables lately so beets immediately came to mind. I love their vibrant color and earthy flavor, but what to pair with them? I wanted something subtly sweet and fresh and it didn’t take long to get to the answer: blueberries. Blueberries make their way into all kinds of savory salads, so why not bruschetta? Isn’t it just a small salad on a slice of crusty bread? After that the rest fell into place – olive oil and balsamic vinegar, crumbled feta cheese, and thinly sliced sweet basil.
Putting this all together is pretty straight-forward: roast the beets (you can do this step ahead and keep them in the fridge), toast the bread, and then just toss together the beets, blueberries, basil balsamic, and olive oil. Pile it all on the toasted bread along with a sprinkling of crumbled feta and a small drizzle of olive oil.
And there you have it: a plateful of colorful and delicious bites. The beets and blueberries are an unexpected pairing and taste wonderful together – I think the balsamic helps tie them together as they both go really well with the tangy sweet vinegar. Success!
So, what are you waiting for? Head on over to Top Chef Home Edition to get inspired and don’t forget to tag your photos with #TopChefHome – I can’t wait to see your creations!
Beet & Blueberry Bruschetta
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 10-12
- Category: Appetizer
- 3 bunches red beets (about 5 small to medium sized ones)
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 small loaves French bread
- 5 Basil leaves, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare the beets for roasting by first cutting off the green tops. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skins and then cut them into equal pieces (halve the small ones and quarter the large ones). Wrap them in tin foil packets and drizzle olive oil over the tops – divide 2 tablespoons across the packets – before closing the packets. Place the packets on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes or until the beets are fork tender. Remove from the oven and let them cool. Dice each beet and place them in the fridge to chill.
- Slice the french bread into 1 inch slices. Place the slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Brush each with some olive oil (you will need about 2 tablespoons total of oil). Turn the oven to broil and place the baking sheet on the top rack. Broil the slices until they turn golden brown – keep and eye on them because they brown fast! Once browned, remove them from the oven and set aside until you’re ready to build the bruschetta.
- In a large bowl mix whisk together the balsamic vinegar and a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the diced beets, blueberries, basil, and the salt and pepper. Toss it all together until everything is coated in the balsamic and oil. At this point you can cover the bowl and chill it until ready to use (be sure to bag up the toasted bread!).
- When ready to serve top each bread slice with some of the beet and blueberry mixture. Sprinkle some feta over the top and additional chopped basil (optional). Drizzle with a little olive oil and enjoy!
Beets can be messy and I’ve found I like peeling them first before roasting to avoid the red juice getting everywhere. If you want to roast them first you can remove the skins after by gently rubbing them off. In either case wear gloves if you want to avoid pink stained hands for a day.[br][br]I bought two small french bread loaves and I cut the slices pretty thick, so I was able to get 26 slices. Depending on the size of the baguette and how thick you slice it you may get more or fewer slices. Adjust the topping amount, but if you end up with extra it’s delicious in a salad with spinach the next day.