Saturday, June 30, 2012

Balsamic Strawberry Goat Cheese Bruschetta – Currently Trending

Some culinary trends are silly. I don’t want deconstructed soups or faux-Kobe sliders. Others are only silly when done poorly. The popular savory/sweet trend is a great example.

While it's often some kind of salted caramel bacon topped ridiculousness, It can be something as easy and approachable as this sexy strawberry goat cheese bruschetta. The way the tangy, slightly salty goat cheese works with the syrupy, balsamic-coated strawberries and crispy, charred bread is a thing of beauty. 

By the way, I’ve got great news if you stink at picking out sweet strawberries. Because we are using a balsamic reduction, this dish actually works very nicely with less-than-perfect berries.

However, one thing that will not work is poor quality vinegar. You’re going to want to use real, aged balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy. There’s just no substitute. Every large market sells it now, so pick up a bottle, and try this very tasty, albeit trendy treat soon. Enjoy!

Special thanks to Dishing Gourmet, for it was their lovely photo on TasteSpotting that inspired this post!


Ingredients for 12 Balsamic Strawberry Goat Cheese Bruschetta
12 slices of Italian bread
olive oil, as needed
1 cup fresh goat cheese, room temp
1/2 cup aged balsamic vinegar, reduced to 1/4 cup
1 pound strawberries, washed and diced
salt and pepper to taste
fresh thyme leaves as desired

View the complete recipe

50 comments:

Steven said...

Oh man, that looks so good! I might have to stop what I'm doing and go buy those ingredients right now.

Matt said...

I am going to be honest. I am a food traditionalist. I see this only as a crime to food. Marrying things that should not be. I know bacon is great, but not as ice cream and all that other crap people do with it. I think this garbage is down to people being bored with food or just down right slobs, cannot say.

Chef John said...

Crime to food? This is not some trick or gimmick, it's a time-honored flavor combination, and one of the most delicious things I've tasted in months.

If you were actually a "food traditionalist" you'd know the Italians have been mixing balsamic vin with fruit for centuries.

Thanks for chiming one, but that's one of the most ignorant comments I've read in a while.

Candace said...

I love the combination of sweet/salty/tangy between fruit and cheese, and I'm pretty sure I dream in balsamic vinegar. Guess I'll have to try this one!

cookinmom said...

Looks like a strawberry boat!!

Anonymous said...

We love the look of this recipe, but will attempt to incorporate brie instead of the goat cheese which my husband hates.
Think that will work?

So ..... Miss Big Head...
Couldn't figure out who that was, so I googled "who is the big headed Italian woman".
Ohhhhhh, I SEEEEEE!!!!!

Pantalone said...

I'm trying to decide if the addition of some julienned smoked duck breast might take this appetizer/dessert over the top and thereby firmly establish it as one of the great achievements in modern culinary history. LoL!

Bob Walters said...

In Matt's defense I imagine his comment about this dish might be brushed off as ignorant in San Francisco, but not here in Italy.

I believe his objection is to the strawberry/bruschetta combination as opposed the combination of fruit and aceto balsimico.

Although you can find Italian Internet references to bruschetta topped with most anything you can imagine (including strawberries)this is due almost entirely to our attempt to keep up with exactly the trend that Matt finds so objectionable. Here in Italy, I've never seen anything like this in a restaurant, only on TV or on the Internet.

We have 24 hour TV cooking channels here too, featuring Italians doing their best to come up with unusual (and sometimes silly) food combinations because, I assume, it's an international trend. Of course we want to be seen as alla moda, at least on TV.

My Italian friends, all of whom consider themselves genuine food experts, are also quite traditional. They would be horrified if I served this dish to them. Not to say that it isn't good and it may very well prove to be all the rage in San Francisco, but the Italians I know would definitely agree with Matt. I'm sure one of them would make a rude comment about me accidentally spilling the frutta dolce on top of one of the antipasti.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John,

Awesome recipe!

If I'm making four then, based on your quantity for 12, I need less than a quarter of a cup of vinegar. Then I need to reduce that by half. It would seem to me that is a very small amount for 1/3 lb of strawberries. From watching your video it seemed like you used more than that. Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

okay gotta give this a shot but my daughter still BEGS for the peach bruschetta...

BTW where does your theme music come from??? love that too

Anonymous said...

i'll give it a shot but my daughter still BEGS for the peach bruschette

BTW... where does your theme music come from???

Chef John said...

Yes, just scale accordingly!

Music is Buddy from iMovie.

Bob, I couldn't disagree more. I didn't say this was traditional, nor does it matter. I was saying it wasn't put together for the sake of being trends, but because it's an awesome combination of flavors.

Any Italian that would be "horrified" with something this gorgeous and amazingly delicious is a fool and disgrace to the culture that made it possible!

By the way, good try, but it's impossible to defend the close-minded.

Candace said...

Wow, these supposed food "experts" and "traditionalists" are really missing out on a lot of great, innovative flavor combinations for the sake of misplaced pride. Being a good cook doesn't just mean doing established recipes well, but also recognizing how they can be mixed up and made into something new and creative. You can take flavor combos that you know work (toasted bread and cheese, cheese and fruit, fruit and balsamic vinegar), and then combine them to produce something amazing.

Chef John said...

well said!!

Anonymous said...

yea really, some food abomination such as the following...

melon and prosciutto

peaches and cottage cheese

fries dipped in chocolate frosty...(guilty pleasure) ;) you know you've all done it...

odd but delicious. bottom line, none of us are food judges sitting on a throne, if you like it, eat it, if you don't then don't but, don't judge and be an A-face

Ron Zucker said...

Uhm, I think I'm being dense. But I'm going to ask anyway, because this looks TOO good. And like it might be even better with some of the fruit that's currently coming into season here on the east coast. So I'm definitely making it or something like it.

It looks from the video like you used 1/4 of reduced balsamic (i.e., started as 1/2 cup, you get the idea, but I'm hoping to be clear) for 4 servings. Now, it's not like I couldn't use reduced balsamic for something else, and it actually stores for a day or so, and I can certainly do it by sight, so the amount in the recipe isn't THAT important, but am I right about that? If so, if I want to make a dozen (that I PROMISE I'll share with my guests. Mostly), shouldn't it be more balsamic I'm reducing? Or is my eye for amounts being tricked by the video?

Thanks! Can't wait to make something like these. Strawberry season has passed here on the East Coast, but I'm pretty sure I can find something delicious to use. :-)

Food classicists drive me up the wall. Really, I don't care what you or your friends would think of the concept of a dish unless it's to say, "I liked it," "I didn't like it but I think I would if I changed X," "I didn't have access to X, so I changed it to Y and it worked/didn't work," or "I didn't like the flavor combination because..."

You're entitled to your tastes. Nobody is forcing you to eat anything. But the difference between trolling and commenting is the difference between reviewing and rejecting out of hand. I don't comment on the seafood recipe ideas because I don't LIKE seafood. If I did, that would be trolling.

Chef John said...

I only used a few tablespoons. A 1/4 cup reduced should be enough for a whole pint of berries, which should make about 10-12 of these.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John,

I just made this today and it was excellent!

All the flavors work together well. Thanks for all you do and pay no attention to the blog trolls.

Morgan R. said...

Here in Portland, we have an ice cream shop called Salt & Straw that has a Strawberry Balsamic w/ Cracked Black Pepper ice cream that is TO DIE FOR! 17% butterfat, very lightly sweetened, almost no air...highly recommended!

This looks incredible! And the perfect recipe for those amazing strawberries we get this time of year in the PNW! Definitely on my list for this next weekend.

Dishing Gourmet said...

Thanks for the shout out Chef John :) These look delicioso!

Anonymous said...

I followed this recipe yesterday, as a trial run before sharing it at a friend's party on the 4th. They were great! Everyone enjoyed the taste test. I know they will be a big hit!

BTW, I'm using this, too,
"it's impossible to defend the close-minded."

Chef John said...

Thanks! BTW, it should have been "closed-minded" but I think the fundamentalists got the idea.

Luz Solano said...
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Luz Solano said...
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Luz Solano said...

Hi!
This would be my first post on the blog, and I can not pass up the chance to say, I made the brochettes of strawberries at a lunch at home, that was the most incredibly delicious dish served, according to my guests. Adiocional to that, I also made ​​the Chocolate Cherry Pork, which was also amazing.
I think I did a Berry Lunch! lol
With the recipe for brusqueta I made some changes, with the cheese, used the goat cheese with cranberry and cinnamon. and for balsamic glaze, we have here in my country in markets, an incredible Balsamic glaze flavored, which I like the Blood Orenge one.
It was more than perfect the entire lunch. I have only to say THANK YOU CHEF JOHN!i

BTW: I would like to send you the picture of what I did.
"it's impossible to defend the closed-minded." By Chef John

Luz Solano said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luz Solano said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hi!
This would be my first post on the blog, and I can'T pass up the chance to say, I made theBalsamic strawberry goat cheese Brusquetta at a lunch at home. That was the most incredibly delicious dish served, according to my guests. Adiocional to that, I also made ​​the Chocolate Cherry Pork, which was also amazing.
I think I did a Berry Lunch! lol
With the recipe for brusqueta I made some changes, with the cheese, I used a goat cheese with cranberry and cinnamon. and for glaze here I found an incredible Balsamic glaze flavored, which I love the Blood Orenge one.
It was more than perfect the entire lunch, and I have only to say MUCHAS GRACIAS CHEF JOHN!

"it's impossible to defend the closeD-minded." By Chef John

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. Easy and good. Hard to pass up that combo. I still have a couple of strawberries left - and am looking forward to using them up like this.

Rita said...

@ Anonymous July 1, 2012 4:27 PM -

"...melon and prosciutto

peaches and cottage cheese..."


- you got that right! just because it's out of the norm doesn't mean it's wrong or it's not the proper way of preparing food.

haven't one heard of the word, "reinvention?" if we keep eating the same style of food with the same ingredients all the time - i don't know about anyone - but i'll be sure to get tired of it.

by the way, we just drove back home from italy (we travel there several times a year) - we always, always see some food items in the menu that is not traditionally prepared. even the italians reinvent their own style of preparation. get out of your shell, is what i say. if you don't like it, don't eat it or don't make it.

Anonymous said...

Oh good grief! Please can the ignorant comments. If you see something like this and don't like it just exercise your right to click the "back" button and move on. Insulting a chef who is trying his level best to come up with something innovative and tasty will not win you any friends. Especially among foodies!

Jessica said...

THANK YOU CHEF JOHN!!! This is going to be a party HIT! I can not belieeeeeve how many people doubted this recipe. I made this for dinner and meant to share it with my boyfriend but ate my ENTIRE first batch. woops. Good thing I had more bread and berries :)

Wingborn said...

I tried this dish, with a fig infused balsamic. YUM! _BIG_ hit!

Sherrie said...

Can I just say.... I LOVE CHEF JOHN!!!

I am somewhat of a newbie at trying to cook more interesting meals and I am usually intimidated by recipes and media chefs. Chef John, you have changed all that for me!! I love the way you make your recipes seem simple, easy, and that anyone can make them. And I especially love your humor. (My favorite was a comment on a shrimp and grits recipe about the two ways to do things---the way your wife likes it and the wrong way.) I laugh every time I watch one of your videos and have made a few dishes...all fabulous!!

This bruchetta recipe is going with us to Game Night with our friends next weekend...I can't wait to be hailed a genius, but I will give you credit. Or maybe not, I may want to keep you all to myself.

Thanks again....Sherrie in Florida

Chef John said...

thank you so much!!!

Michelle said...

Wow that is a lot of controversial, and somewhat aggressive, posts for a recipe.... I'll keep it short and simple (similar to the actual recipe), this was delicious, I ate what I planned to be leftovers immediately. Cheers

Sherrie said...

Oh....My.....Yum!!

As planned, I made these for our Game Night get-together and you should've heard all the "wows" and "who would've thoughts". Needless to say they were a big hit!!!

Iselinn said...

The trollers here annoyed me so much that I showed both the dish and the redicolous comments to a friend of mine who is an italian chef in a michenlin restaurant. The first thing he did was smiling aprovingly to the dish, and when he read the comments he laughed long and loud, shook his head and called them somthing I can only translate as "Culinary deprived hillbillies". Made me laugh loads. The whole idea of being a "food traditionalist" makes me laugh. I can only imagine where we would be today if that was the way of thinking half a century ago. Hahahahahah! Got to love idiots though... They give people good laughs ^^

Salvatore A. Tummolillo said...

The most ridiculous thing I've ever heard is someone saying that this ISN'T traditionalist. Where the most common bruschetta is indeed the diced tomato variety, that does NOT mean it is the ONLY bruschetta out there. What about the caprese bruschetta? That smoked bread is but a (deliciously amazing) vessel for the culinary artist's creative adornments. When the two become one, well executed, exciting, dare I say erotically satisfying dish, you can only call it a success.


6 out of 5 on this one, Chef John!

Vidhya Jayant Iyer said...

Hi chef John,

Thank you for posting wonderful video recipes! Love them and they are so easy to follow-- have tried a few of your dishes and they turned out great :)

Just wanted a quick check abt the balsamic vinegar in this recipe. I boiled it in the way u demonstrated, over low heat. However it became very thick after boiling and almost paste/ solid likewhen it cooled down ( it was at room temp, I did not put in the fridge) - i had to reheat it to ' loosen it up ' a bit over a bowl of boiling water... Taste wise, it was fine! But I would ve preferred a more looser consistency ( like in your video.. )Not sure what went wrong there..

Do u think I might have over boiled the vinegar? But it did not taste burnt to me.. I also used good quality Modena that I had just bought for this dish. Any tips for the next time I make this to prevent this from happening again? Really want to give this a try again- it tasted good but I think it would be even better if I got the consistency n boiling of the vinegar right .

Thank u!

Chef John said...

You just reduced too much. No problem! You know you can always add water to thin. Thanks!!

Vidhya Jayant Iyer said...

Thank u! :)

Natasha said...

I live in Italy too, and I thought that I'd chime in on this one...

If I were to present this to my Italian in-laws (North Italians), they would probably be like "really?" with weirded-out smiles on their faces. But then they would eat it and they would probably say "that was really good". I'm guessing that the in-laws would never try to make this themselves, though.

So...I'd have to say that
most Italians ARE food traditionalists, but they know, recognize and appreciate good food whether it be "traditional" or not.



Blair From America said...

This was phenomenal! Great idea. Just as good as watermelon and prosciutto!!! Thanks Chef!

tmummy said...

forgive me for asking but what are your thoughts on a balsamic glaze instead of reducing the balsamic vinegar ?

Webjazz said...

Hello Chef John
What a great recipe. I've done the Balsamic over strawberries & ice cream before but never this with good bread and cheese.

I'd like to know what kind/brand of Balsamic Vinegar you use.

(Love your background music too!)

Chef John said...

It was Kirkland brand from Costoco. Thanks!

Andrea said...

Hi Chef John, Do you think the goat cheese and strawberry topping could also work in Belgian Endive? I'm just trying to experiment ways to make these up in advance of a party. Not sure how long the toasted bread will last before it should be served.... Thanks!

Andrea said...

Hi Chef John, Do you think the goat cheese + strawberry balsamic combo could also work in Belgian Endive leaves? I'm trying to brainstorm ways to make these a few hours in advance of a party. Not sure the bread would make it that long.... Thanks!

Chef John said...

Taste is subjective, but sounds good to me. :)