Serve this bruschetta as an appetizer or finger food during the holidays; it’s also delicious alongside tomato soup. Taleggio is a somewhat pungent cow’s milk cheese from Italy; for a milder option, use Brie or burrata.
Bruschetta with Spicy Broccoli Rabe and Taleggio
8 slices ciabatta bread, each about 1⁄2 inch (12 mm) thick
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) plus 1 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 garlic cloves
1 lb. (500 g) broccoli rabe, trimmed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup (1 1⁄2 oz./45 g) walnuts, toasted
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 lb. (250 g) Taleggio cheese, thinly sliced
Heat a ridged grill pan on the stove top over high heat. Brush both sides of the bread slices with oil. Grill the bread, turning once, until toasted and grill-marked, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Let cool. Cut a garlic clove in half lengthwise and then rub one side of the bread slices with the cut sides of the garlic halves.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold running water and drain well. Transfer the broccoli rabe to paper towels to drain.
In a food processor or blender, mince the remaining garlic clove with a few pinches of salt. Add half of the broccoli rabe, the walnuts and lemon zest and pulse until coarsely ground. Add the 1⁄2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) oil and process until the mixture is finely chopped. Add the Parmesan and pulse just to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
In a fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the 1 Tbs. oil. Add the red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the remaining broccoli rabe and cook, stirring often, until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the broiler. Top the garlic-rubbed side of each bread slice with a spoonful of the pureed broccoli rabe and a few slices of Taleggio. Transfer to a baking sheet and broil just until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter, top each with warmed broccoli rabe and serve. Serves 4 to 6.
Find more seasonal, vegetable-focused dishes in our cookbook
Vegetable of the Day, by Kate McMillan.