Bruschetta with Kale Pesto & Mozzarella
I grill all-year round. Sometimes voluntarily, other times not. Working for food magazines means developing and testing recipes about six months ahead of time. I often make Thanksgiving dinner in April, beef stew in July, Easter ham in October and summertime food in the winter. (Yes, it turns the whole idea of eating seasonally and locally on its head – big time!)
While efforts are made to develop recipes for the grill before winter really sets in, it doesn’t always pan out that way. Last week I was asked to test some grilling recipes right after we got walloped with a couple of early winter snow storms. That meant digging out the grills and hoping for a little thaw. Luckily both my husband and Mother Nature chipped in to help me out.
I don’t really mind eating a turkey dinner in the spring, but I do object to rich, heavy stews and gratins in August (not to mention how unpleasant a hot oven on a sweltering day can be). And a cobbler with peaches from as far away as Chile in December isn’t exactly eating local. The one exception for me when it comes to out-of-season cooking is grilling. Grilled foods taste great to me any time of year. If the weather is at all cooperative, I don’t hesitate to light up my grill.
This bruschetta recipe features smoky, garlic-scented bread that has been charred on the grill topped with an earthy, slightly bitter kale pesto and creamy mozzarella cheese – a flavor combination that’s hard to beat. For me, it’s the perfect marriage of seasons.
Kale pesto is a delicious alternative to the standard basil pesto. It has a brassy, more assertive and bolder flavor than the basil variety, but can be used in the same way. I like to use it on pizzas and pastas or swirl it into a creamy potato or white bean soup. In this recipe, I swap the pine nuts for walnuts and use Pecorino instead of Parmesan – both have stronger flavors that are well-matched to the big flavor of kale.
P.S.This delicious Italian appetizer requires all of four minutes of grill time, so get out there and fire it up!