Bruschetta Cheese Spread

Memorial Day is quickly approaching which to me is the start of the summer entertaining season. One of my favorite summer appetizers is a plate of simple tomato bruschetta. What can be more natural than thin slices of crusty Italian bread grilled, brushed with good quality olive oil and topped with a mixture of chopped ripe tomatoes, fragrant fresh basil, and just a little garlic? The problem with serving this to guests when they are standing around with a glass of wine is that the tomatoes do not stay on the bread and it can get quite messy. This recipe is an excellent variation for this problem when entertaining because the recipe can serve a crowd, can be prepared the night before, and everyone can help themselves at their leisure.

This spread is first formed into a ball which needs to be prepared hours ahead of serving, or even the night before to allow the cheese mixture to firm. In fact, I find the flavors in this spread actually improve when prepared ahead of time as it will enable all the ingredients to meld together creating a delicious flavor. Just before serving, roll the ball into the breadcrumbs, grill the bread slices, and garnish the bruschetta spread with fresh chopped tomatoes and basil. This would be an excellent appetizer for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday or for any upcoming summer entertaining.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2018

Bruschetta Cheese Spread

Ingredients:

Cheese Spread:

  • 1 (5 Ounce) Container of Boursin Garlic & Herb Cheese
  • 1 (8 Ounce) Cream Cheese At Room Temperature
  • 1 Cup Finely Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 3/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Large Plum Tomatoes, Cored & Seeded, Then Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Sun-Dried Tomatoes Packed In Oil, Drained & Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1 Large Garlic Clove, Minced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Coating:

  • 3/4 Cup Seasoned Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 2 Teaspoons Olive Oil

Garnish:

  • 2 Ripe Plum Tomatoes, Cored, Seeded, & Chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon Finely Chopped Basil
  • 1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

To Serve:

  • 2 Long Skinny Baguette Breads, Cut Into 1/2 Inch Slices
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Place the cheese spread ingredients into a food processor and pulse until mixed. (Do not mix until completely smooth)
  2. Scoop the mixture out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, and shape into a ball or oval.
  3. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
  4. Just before serving, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the breadcrumbs.
  5. Cook the crumbs until golden brown, stirring continually, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  7. Remove the cheese ball from the refrigerator, unwrap, and roll in the breadcrumbs.
  8. In a small bowl, mix together the garnish ingredients.
  9. Place the cheese ball onto a large platter and then spoon the garnish on top.
  10. Grill the bread slices until lightly browned on both sides, then brush with olive oil.
  11. Arrange the bread slices around the cheese ball and serve immediately.