| Home

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

An unexpected twist on bruschetta

Diane Worthington
rilled Shrimp Bruschetta with Romesco Sauce.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, 9:03 p.m.

On my latest book tour, I had the pleasure of staying at the Hotel Vitale in San Francisco, which is just a crosswalk away from the famed Ferry Building, a food-lover's paradise. If you are going to San Francisco, it is worth staying there to immerse yourself in the local food scene. You can taste coffee, fruits, pastry, roasted chickens, spices, oysters ... the list could go on forever. Plan your trip around the Saturday-morning outdoor market — there is nothing like sitting on a bench underneath the Oakland Bay Bridge, eating breakfast and talking food politics with the locals.

I always try to find out what's cooking with the local chefs, and was thrilled to discover Chef Kory Stewart at Americano Restaurant. There is a vibrant bar scene in the front of the restaurant, and behind a curtain there is a small dining room turning out some sensational dishes. Not only is Stewart an incredibly talented chef, but he has a thing for candy cap mushrooms; he forages for them on his time off. I was lucky enough to taste ice cream with some of the dried mushrooms — simply amazing. One dish I couldn't stop thinking about was Bruschetta With Shrimp and Romesco Sauce. It is a sublimely simple recipe made for the home cook.

Bruschetta is thick-sliced bread, grilled and scented with garlic, usually drizzled with fruity olive oil. While we usually think of this dish as topped with tomatoes, actually it is a blank canvas for other savory ingredients. As an aside, let's clear up the pronunciation of “bruschetta.” Some people mistakenly say “bro-shetta,” whereas it is correct to say “bro-sketta.” However you say it, this classic Italian appetizer is a winner.

I think you will appreciate the unexpected topping on this bruschetta recipe. If you can find fresh shrimp, you will be rewarded with a double dose of deliciousness. If not, ask your fishmonger for the best-quality shrimp available (16 to 20 count) and have the shrimp cleaned and deveined. This roasted pepper, garlic and almond sauce is quite versatile, and it beautifully complements the sweetness of the shrimp. Any leftover sauce is wonderful as a dip for vegetables or a finishing sauce on any grilled fish, chicken or meat.

Grilled Shrimp Bruschetta with Romesco Sauce

Serves 4 to 6

1 pound peeled, and deveined 16 to 20 count shrimp

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 French or sourdough baguette, sliced in half horizontally and cut into 4-inch long slices

1 clove fresh garlic

Finely chopped parsley, for garnish

Romesco Sauce (recipe below)

If using bamboo skewers, soak them in cold water for at least 1 hour. This will prevent them from burning when grilled.

Thread the shrimp on individual skewers (4 to 5) on each skewer.

Prepare grill for medium-hot grilling. You can use charcoal, wood or gas. Brush the shrimp with a light coating of olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Grill over the hot part of fire until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Cool and slice the shrimp in half. Set aside.

Brush the bread slices liberally with olive oil. Place the bread on the grill and grill each side just until marks of the grill appear, for about 2 minutes per side. Some minimal charring is desirable, and most of the bread should be toasted golden and crispy. Remove from grill and place on a serving platter. Immediately rub the bread all over with the whole garlic clove.

Liberally spread bread with Romesco Sauce; arrange a few shrimp on top of Romesco sauce. Garnish with parsley and enjoy.

Romesco Sauce

Makes about 1 12 cups

12 cup roasted sweet red peppers, peeled and seeded

3 tablespoons Marcona almonds

1 slice white bread, crusts removed and cut into small pieces

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon pimiento de la vera, dulce (dried red pepper) or paprika

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

12 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a blender combine all the ingredients except for the oil, salt and black pepper, and blend until pureed. Add the oil in slowly and blend until the mixture is emulsified. Add salt and pepper and a little water if too thick. Taste for seasoning. Reserve.

Advance Preparation: May be prepared up to 1 week ahead, covered in an airtight container and refrigerated.

Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 20 cookbooks, including most recently “Seriously Simple Parties” (Chronicle Books, 2012), and also a James Beard award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. More health-care control
  2. Comets hold life building blocks
  3. FedEx bid faces in-depth probe of bid to buy Dutch express company
  4. Marte’s 2 fine defensive plays rescue Pirates in victory over Reds
  5. Armstrong inmate escapee charged with murdering family matriarch
  6. Connellsville diners can again ‘Savor the Avenue’
  7. New Kensington-Arnold committee discusses ways to combat bullying
  8. Captured Armstrong jail escapee Crissman’s criminal history
  9. Pirates trade for Dodgers 1B/OF Morse, Mariners LHP Happ
  10. Rossi: Nothing huge, but Huntington helped Bucs
  11. Woman threatened with knife at ATM in Uniontown