As you know, I currently working my way through quite a large hunk of ‘nduja. Even though I’ve given quite a bit of it away, I’m still knee deep in spicy sausage spread.
I find that whenever I have any ingredient I don’t quite know what to do with, the most straight forward answer is always bruschetta. Toasted bread topped with just about anything is always a good idea, right?
Plus? If we’re not near an open fire I get the chance to use my nifty little bruschetta maker. This small tin grill is one of those ingenious Italian inventions that allows Italian cooks to get the most out of their stove top. Just think of it as the same family as the Moka. They are becoming harder to find these days, not because they don’t make them anymore (they do) but because the types of stores where they are sold are becoming rarer and rarer.
Every neighborhood used to have several little stores that sold just about everything a housewife could need. Packed to the rafters, these ‘casalinga’ shops sold everything from soaps and brooms to knifes and forks. And, of course, Mokas and bruschetta grills.
With rising rents and high competition from big name stores like Ikea these little shops are a dying breed. Happily there are still a couple of these stores left in my neighborhood of Monti, but over near Campo de’ Fiori the only place left to buy this kind of stuff is one stand left in the market.
Thank goodness I have quite a few of these little grills, so I”m all set for any bruschetta possibility that comes my way. All you need to do is turn on the flame, add cut bread, and watch carefully – flipping every now and again so it doesn’t burn – and you have the basis for one of life’s greatest and easiest meals.
While I’ve been known to top bruschetta with everything from tomatoes (a classic) to wild asparagus and pork, this time around I spiced things up. A schmear of ‘nduja and a pile of wilted beet greens was the perfect combo. The fatty ‘nduja melted into the hot crusty bread and the slightly sweet beet greens tamed down the spice just enough. I also love the red stems against the day glo orange of the ‘nduja which made it all seem rather more festive than toast.
But really? Want to know the part I love the most? How often do you get to use the words ‘schmear’ and ‘nduja in the same sentence?
- Greens from one bunch of beets
- 4½ inch slices of crusty Italian bread
- 8 tsp of ‘nduja (more or less)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- Rinse the beet greens and cut them up roughly into 1 inch wide ribbons.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and then add the beet greens and salt. Add about a quarter cup of water and cook until wilted and the stems are cooked through. This should only take about 6 minutes or so. Turn up heat and cook away any liquid in the pan until the greens are dry. Turn off heat.
- Toast your bread: use the little grill if you have it, or else the broiler in your oven or over embers if you are lucky to have a fire going.
- Cut each slice in half once toasted. Spread each with a schmear of ‘nduja, then top with greens and serve.