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Seafood Bruschettas

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A Selection of Seafood Bruschetta
So the other day we were at Cicada with the winning trifecta of good drinks, good friends and good food.  We've had many a lovely meal at this fine establishment, but this particular night lodged in my head as something to be explored further.   In the recipe section this week we're featuring a trio of delicious seafood bruchettas!  Many thanks to Billy and Lisa for the great meal and the inspiration!
I'm not one to trip over foodie rules and such, but I do think that there's a visual element to bruchetta that probably shouldn't be ignored.  So this one is a little tricky because not only should it taste fabulous, but it really must look pretty too.  If you want to slap something yummy on bread without fussing over visual appeal I suppose you'd be better off with a sandwich, (and that's okay too)!  There's something particularly lovely about creating a beautiful plate, especially if you're able to enjoy it out on the deck while an early September evening slips away. 
  First things First: Every good Bruschetta starts with good bread.  We're extremely fortunate in Olympia to have *several* awesome bakeries in such a small area, so pick your favorite and get a long skinny loaf.  Slice it sideways into thin wedges and arrange them in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Drizzle a little olive oil over the tops and throw them under the broiler of your oven for just a minute or two to get toasty brown.  You can flip them and repeat to toast both sides but I sort of like the textural variation of a toasty side and a soft side.  Once your bread is done, you're ready to rock with the toppings!
  • Wild Shrimp, French Brie and Asparagus: This particular little stack of goodness is a serious treat.  I like to keep the mess down to a minimum, so I do all the cooking in a single large fry pan.  Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, about the same on chopped garlic, some small asparagus tops and a few shrimp.  (I used the large wild Mexican prawns with the intention of slicing them lengthwise in half for serving, so 6 shrimp will get you 12 bruchettas.)  Turn your burner on medium high heat and let the shrimp cook about 3-4 minutes on each side, tossing the asparagus with tongs periodically.  If you like your asparagus a little crunchy, take it out of the pan after about 5 minutes - that will be enough time to get it nicely al dente.  Once the shrimp are done, let them cool a minute so you don't burn your fingers and then peel and slice them the long way.  Take a piece of toast, smear it liberally with a good French brie, add a shrimp slice and top with two asparagus spears.  Plate it and prepare to amaze your dinner companions!
  • Lox and a Schmear (only a bit fancier): This is a little more posh take on the traditional "bagel with cream cheese and lox" and if you're a purist from New York you might find this offensive - but you're in Olympia now!  Ha!  Take your toasty bread, schmear (or, ahem, smear) it with a bit of cream cheese, add a slice of lox and a slice of ripe avocado.  Top it all with some fresh cracked black pepper and voila, you're already done!  Rich, but very tasty!
  • Ventresca Tuna, Basil and Fresh Tomato: If you haven't yet had a chance to try the Ventresca tuna, you should make plans for that.  It's exclusively the belly meat portion of our local albacore, and it's light and buttery and wonderful.  Spread a bit on a piece of the toasted bread and top with a leaf of fresh basil and a slice of ripe tomato.  Add a glass of wine to this and you'll swear you're in Tuscany.  Delizioso!

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