August 13, 2013

"everything" bagel bruschetta (it doesn't tomato what you think)

If there's one thing I learned from this year's Tomato Art Fest, it's that next year I will get a babysitter and free my hands up to hold adult beverages. 

I'd like to say I'll skip next year's recipe contest, but I won't.  I can't help myself.  This year's competition: bruschetta.  Demanding that a bruschetta recipe include tomato...well, frankly it frustrated me because bruschetta is to do with the bread.  It doesn't have to include toppings, and if it does, they can be anything.  However, I love tomatoes in all the ways, and I love competitions in even more of the ways, so I was in for a fourth year.  (I won 1st place for soup & 2nd for sandwich in preceding years, and we're not going to talk about the salad year. loser.)

My immediate inspiration was the everything bagel.  A real, honest to goodness bagel from Jersey – topped with whipped cream cheese, fresh tomato and coarse black pepper is one of my most favorite things to eat.  It doesn’t happen often, but when I can get my hands on a Jersey bagel during peak Tennessee tomato time, I am the happiest of girls because my two homes collide in the most delicious way. 

So that's where I started.  I knew I wanted to make my own bagels (I have so many strong feelings about bagels that it deserves a separate post...someday) because, ahem, the bread is the thing that makes bruschetta bruschetta (I'm imagining this in a Giada voice. Are you?)

From there, I built an everything bagel, but my way.  I sliced the homemade bagels, toasted them, rubbed them with roasted garlic & olive oil, slathered them with whipped cream cheese, and topped them with fresh tomato.  It was tough not to enhance the tomatoes in any way since they're the star of the contest, but when it's summer in Tennessee, if a tomato needs something done to it to make it shine, something is wrong. 

For the "everything" part, I knew I wanted crunch, and I dreamed up this brittle.  The best way I can describe it is this: it's not exactly good, but I can't stop eating it. 

So, did I win?  NO.  However, I received 'honorable mention,' which I think might be a compliment.  Maybe.  Even better, my most talented mommy won 3rd place for her BLT bruschetta. Way better than me winning.  She's hooked on the contest thing now.  She's already dreaming up next year's entry, which we're told must be dip. (click it. trust.)  

“Everything” Bagel Bruschetta
makes 16 pieces of bruschetta


Four large bagels, sliced on the bias and toasted
one medium heirloom tomato, thinly sliced
4 tbs whipped cream cheese
6 cloves garlic, roasted in olive oil & smashed with a fork
“everything” brittle*

Spread toasted bagel pieces with a layer of smashed garlic; top that with a schmear of whipped cream cheese.  Place one thin slice of fresh tomato on top (cut in half if needed), and then crumble with copious amounts of “everything” brittle. 

* “Everything” brittle:
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
equal parts poppy seeds, sesame seeds, black pepper & crumbled bacon (about 2 tbs of each), plus 1 tbs coarse salt

Prepare a baking sheet with nonstick spray.  Set aside.
Combine sugar & corn syrup in a small pot on stovetop and bring to a boil at medium heat.  Whisk continuously until mixture begins to turn slightly amber.  Add all ingredients – except the bacon – and whisk to combine complete.  Pour mixture over baking sheet until spread out.  Crumble bacon on top immediately.  Allow to set and harden, then break into small pieces. 


  1. Seriously. This brittle MUST taste good! I won't hear anything less. Sorry you didn't win. This really would've been top on my list had I been judging. Looks delicious!

    1. it does taste good(ish). it's so different. i'm excited about trying other brittle combinations. you'll be the first to taste test!

  2. I can't believe you didn't win with that brittle! Love all the textures you have on this.

  3. Hey, an honorable mention is still better than no mention!

    ps--the bagels, as always, were delicious. Thank you for sharing. :D

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