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Local Flavor with Scott Joseph: Bruschetta from Tartini Pizza & Spaghetteria

 

 

toppings on crusted bread

The Chef’s Bruschetta at Tartini Pizza & Spaghetteria features delicious, atypical toppings.  (COURTESY OF TARTINI PIZZERIA & SPAGHETTERIA)

 

When I recently revisited Tartini Pizza & Spaghetteria, I was impressed with the improvements new owners Oleksandr Nechyporenko and Alvaro Ramirez, who is also the chef, had made. And I loved Ramirez’s creative take on Italian cuisine. His Chef’s Bruschetta is a perfect example.

Ramirez has taken something that is usually no more than chopped tomatoes and basil with olive oil on toast and taken it to new levels. For starters, forget the tomatoes and basil. Instead, he uses creamy herbed goat cheese, arugula and fresh peaches. He tops it with balsamic pearls that look like oversized caviar. But Ramirez says you can also just drizzle some balsamic vinegar for a workaround. (Chef Ramirez’s spherification method to make the pearls is below.)

CHEF’S BRUSCHETTA FROM TARTINI PIZZA & SPAGHETTERIA
Servings: About 5
1 large baguette, sliced 1/4-inch thick on the bias
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
2 cloves garlic, halved
4 ounces baby arugula, washed and dried
3 peaches, peeled, halved and pitted
5 slices prosciutto di Parma
Goat cheese spread (see recipe below)
Balsamic vinegar

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush bread on both sides lightly with oil and place on a large baking sheet. Toast bread until golden, 10 to 15 minutes, turning halfway through. Let cool for 5 minutes, then rub the tops of the bread with halved garlic cloves.

Place peach halves cut-side-down on grill over medium heat for 4 – 5 minutes then turn and cook until tender, another 4 – 5 minutes. Cut into 1/4-inch cubes.

To assemble: Spread goat cheese on toast and top with 4 or 5 arugula leaves. Cut each piece of prosciutto into two strips and place on top of arugula. Add some of the grilled peaches and drizzle with balsamic vinegar (or balsamic pearls).

GOAT CHEESE SPREAD
8 ounces goat cheese (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons heavy cream, more if needed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (parsley and chives)
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

Place goat cheese, cream and olive oil in a food processor (or mix in a bowl with a wooden spoon). Pulse just to blend.

Mixture should be spreadable; if it’s too thick, add 1 or 2 additional tablespoons of cream and pulse again.

Season with salt and pepper, pulse again, and taste, adjusting the seasoning as necessary.

Add 2 teaspoons of lemon zest. Pulse once more to blend.

(Recipe from Chef Alvaro Ramirez of Tartini Pizza & Spaghetteria.)

Bonus recipe: Balsamic Pearls for Chef’s Bruschetta from Tartini Pizza & Spaghetteria

Chef Ramirez also shared his spherification technique for creating balsamic pearls to top his Chef’s Bruschetta. You can search online or wherever spherification ingredients are sold to help you make this special garnish.

BALSAMIC PEARLS FOR CHEF’S BRUSCHETTA FROM TARTINI PIZZA & SPAGHETTERIA

Ingredients for the pearls:
1/2 cup (125 ml) water
1/2 cup (125 ml) balsamic vinegar
2 grams sodium alginate
Pour water and balsamic vinegar into a blender.
With the blades on low speed, use a mesh tea strainer to sprinkle sodium alginate onto the liquid. Mix until the powder is absorbed by the liquid.
Strain the mix through a small tea strainer. Pour into a squeeze bottle.

To make the setting bath:
3.2 grams calcium chloride
500 ml cold water
Additional cold water
Mix with a spoon for 30 seconds to dissolve the calcium chloride in the 500 ml of cold water.
Drip the balsamic liquid slowly into the setting bath and leave to set for 1 – 2 minutes.
To capture the pearls, carefully pour the liquid through the tea strainer into another 500 ml container.
Submerge the strainer with pearls into a small bowl of cold water for a few seconds to rinse from the calcium chloride.
Remove the strainer from the bowl of water and spoon out the pearls onto your dish.
(Recipe from Chef Alvaro Ramirez of Tartini Pizza & Spaghetteria.)

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To find recipes from other local restaurants, check out the Local Flavor with Scott Joseph section and follow ScottJosephOrlando.com to read reviews and stay up to date on Orlando restaurant news.

serving tray of topped bruscetta in front of restaurant

(COURTESY OF TARTINI PIZZERIA & SPAGHETTERIA)

 

 

 

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