Dish of the Week: Spring Pea Bruschetta

This springtime bruschetta is sure to impress.
This springtime bruschetta is sure to impress.
Photo by T.Tseng

From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. Find other dishes of the week here.

This week, we’re sharing a seasonal take on an Italian staple, bruschetta.

Deriving its name from the Roman verb bruscar – meaning “to roast over coals" — bruschetta is sliced, grilled bread rubbed with olive oil and garlic and topped with a variety of ingredients.

According to Italian cookbook writer Marcella Hazan, the dish likely originated in ancient Rome, when olive growers would toast slices of bread to taste their fresh-pressed oil at the local olive press. Other theories believe it was born out of Italian peasants' common practice of using bread as a tool to hold ingredients instead of ceramic dishes.

While typical accoutrements include chopped tomato, basil, garlic, onion and salt, the best part about bruschetta is that anything goes.  Top it with ingredients like ricotta or goat cheese, fresh fruit, savory vegetables, and bacon or pancetta, to name a few.  

As shown in this recipe, from chef Curtis Stone, it makes the perfect vehicle for a spread of spring pea pesto and creamy-as-all-hell burrata, an Italian cheese made with an outer shell of mozzarella and and an inner shell of mozzarella mixed with cream. The pea pesto is packed with fresh herbs and a hint of lemon to bring extra freshness and zing, while the burrata brings a dreamy, velvety mouthfeel.

Bruschetta with Spring Pea Pesto and Burrata

Ingredients serves 4
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt
4 1/2-inch-thick slices ciabatta bread
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups shelled fresh English peas (from 1 1/2 pounds peas in the pod)
4 ounces burrata (or fresh mozzarella), at room temperature
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly grated
Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a small food processor, combine the basil, mint, 5 tablespoons of the oil, the lemon zest and juice, and process until nearly smooth. Season to taste with salt. Leave the mixture in the food processor.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil over the ciabatta and season with salt. Grill the ciabatta for about 3 minutes per side, or until lightly toasted and grill marks form. Transfer to a plate.

Heat a medium-heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, then add the shallot and garlic, and sauté for about 2 minutes, or until tender and translucent. Add the peas and cook for about 5 minutes, or until they are cooked through but still crisp-tender. Remove from the heat.

Add half of the warm pea mixture to the pesto and pulse until the peas are coarsely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and fold in the remaining warm pea mixture. Season with salt.

Divide the burrata among the bruschetta and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the pesto over, sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately. 

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