Tuscan Inspiration for the Holiday Table
Let’s face it, most of us preparing traditional holiday meals know how carb heavy they can be, so providing a healthy appetizer that is delicious, fresh and easy to prepare is a winner!
I love traveling to different parts of the world to get inspiration for new and delicious ways to use fresh vegetables. Just ninety miles from Florence sits Poppi Italy. Here the October fields look like patch work quilts of green, gold and red. Vine ripened tomatoes are nature’s candy and most abundant this time of year in Tuscany and California, so using these beauties right out of the garden is a treat.
This time of year in Tuscan villages the 1:00 pm main meal might be served outside, next to the olive groves and under a massive walnut or hazelnut tree. Fall colored table clothes cover the family’s century old farm table lively with robust conversation.
The traditional first course, “Bruschetta”, uses day-old Italian bread sliced and grilled golden brown and very crisp. Each slice is topped with a jewel like mixture of fresh tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and basil.
Ocean Mist Farm’s, “Season & Steam Sweet Baby Broccoli” takes traditional Tuscan Bruschetta to the next level. Just by adding Ocean Mist Farm’s perfectly cooked Sweet Baby Broccoli to the traditional Tuscan Bruschetta, truly makes this first Course/Appetizer a winner for any holiday table.
When I serve this appetizer before a fall holiday meal I like to use the orange and yellow grape-sized tomatoes to give the dish an autumn color palate. For winter meals I like to use the traditional red tomatoes to complement the beautiful crisp green color of the Sweet Baby Broccoli.
Place a bowl of the “Sweet Baby Broccoli Bruschetta” mixture on the table to use as a flavorful topping for grilled chicken breasts, fish or red meats.
The Sweet Baby Broccoli Bruschetta mixture can be made the day before and stored in an airtight container in the frig. For ease, you can pick up a bag of pre-made crostini bread rounds to serve along side of the Bruschetta.
With a glass of Tuscan wine in one hand and a slice of Sweet Baby Broccoli Bruschetta in the other hand, cheers to upcoming holiday celebrations shared with good friends....Italian style!