I brought a tray of these over to a friends house for a potluck thing last weekend. There’s fresh basil pesto up in there, melty smoked mozzarella, and lemon zest-roasted carrots on toasted sourdough. They hit all the salty, smoky, cheesy, and curiously sweet marks.
SMOKEY CARROT BRUSCHETTA WITH PESTO // makes 16 toasts
1 1/2 pounds baby carrots, cleaned and trimmed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1 small garlic clove
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups packed genovese or sweet basil leaves
25 grams (about 1/4 cup) finely grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf freshly baked sourdough bread, cut into 8 chunky slices and halved into triangles
3/4 to 1 pound smoked mozzarella, sliced into 8-16 wedges about 1/4-inch thick
Small basil leaves for garnishing
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400°F.
Mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, zest, and the salt. Toss the carrots with the olive oil and lemon mixture and spread them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the edges have browned.
Meanwhile, add the pine nuts and garlic to the bowl of a food processor, and pulse a few times just until lightly chopped. With the processor on, add half of the basil leaves and drizzle in the olive oil, with the processor only running for a few seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the remaining basil and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. (The less the basil blitzes in the processor the better, over blending can affect the gorgeous bright green color and taste). Transfer the pesto to a bowl, stir in the grated parmesan cheese until evenly combined, season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside for serving. The pesto will keep well generously drizzled with olive oil and stored in an airtight container up to 5 days.
To assemble, toast the sourdough slices on a baking sheet in the oven for just a few minutes until crisp. Meanwhile, have the pesto, mozzarella slices, and roasted carrots ready to assemble the bruschetta. Once the bread has toasted, spread a generous amount of pesto onto each slice, top with the mozzarella, and a few roasted carrots balancing over the top. Bake the bruschetta for about 5 minutes just until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, drizzle with olive oil and enjoy immediately.