This recipe was created for Smeg Nordic.
Summer is finally here and, even though I’m not a lover of heat, I always look forward to this season for its produce, all the more so in the Nordic countries. You see, here in the north, summer is really the only season where vegetables and fruits grow. And summer is the only season when tomatoes actually taste like something.
Bruschetta is an Italian classic that everybody knows and loves. It’s very easy to make and a perfect, refreshing appetizer. The secret of this simple dish are the raw ingredients, that have to be fresh and of good quality. The thing is, tomatoes won’t taste the same in the Nordic countries. Compared to Italian tomatoes, Nordic tomatoes are watery and tasteless. As mentioned earlier, in summertime the situation is a little better, but I felt that my Nordic bruschetta needed a kick from somewhere else.
And that’s where I thought to include radish into the equation. Radish is a root vegetable that grows well in the Nordic countries because, well, it grows underground. Radishes are very tasty and I love their crunchiness. What many forget is that radish leaves are also edible and have a wonderful flavor. They complete the taste for this radish bruschetta recipe and it’s a great way not to throw away any food! Continuing the zero-waste topic, bruschettas are perfect for this purpose because it is a way to use the not-so-fresh bread of the day before that is getting hard and dry.
Still a few words about this radish bruschetta in order to elevate them to the next level, to the Italian level.
- Use a good olive oil. This is a general advice every time you use olive oil. Please, don’t buy the cheapest olive oil you find. I know, it’s not like it’s always possible to go directly to the olive farmer that will have you taste all his different oils with a piece of ciabatta. Yes, there will be failures because, no matter how good the packaging looks, if we don’t know the brand, we are buying blind. But let’s make a conscious effort to find a good olive oil that won’t taste bitter or, at the other end of the scale, that will actually taste like olive oil.
- The garlic is to be put ONLY on top of the bread, not in the tomato sauce. A common mistake many make, meaning to add the garlic in the sauce. This is wrong, though, because we don’t want the garlic to overpower the taste of the tomatoes and radish, we want the garlic to combine with the bread and give a pleasant aftertaste and that’s achieved only buy rubbing the garlic clove straight onto the bread slices.
- Prepare the bruschetta sauce at least half an hour before the meal. This will give the tomato juices time to come out and combine with the oil and you can use that tasty sauce to soften your bred slices.
The Nordic Radish Bruschetta
- 3 tomatoes ~ 300 g
- 4 radishes ~ 100 g
- 1 small spring onion
- 5 radish leaves
- 5 basil leaves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- Cream cheese
- 1 or 2 Garlic cloves
- Fresh bread like baguette or ciabatta
- Chop finely the tomatoes and place them in a bowl
- Slice the radishes and the spring onion
- Chop finely the basil and radish leaves
- Season with salt and oil
- Slice the bread and toast it
- Rub the garlic clove onto the toasted bread
- Add a bit of the water from the tomato sauce onto the bread slices
- Spread a thin layer of cheese onto the bread slices and add the tomato sauce