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May 19, 2012

Tomato, Zucchini and Olive Bruschetta | Fresh Summer Party Food

I love good party food.  I really do think there is an art to designing a menu for a party.   It should be fresh, really flavorful, not too complicated and look bountiful - no one likes to go to a party where they feel like the food is rationed out or they have to wonder what it is they're eating!   When I was catering, I was able to observe what people when crazy for, then I would think about why...  

Here are my rules for great party food :

- Goes great with a cocktail, beer or glass of wine
- Easy to eat with one hand
- Easy to eat in a couple of bits
- Good hot, cold and/or at room temperature

These bruschetta fit the bill- in fact, most all bruschetta fit the bill.  I really like this combination of tomatoes, zucchini and olives - it feels very summery to me.  Another reason this is great party food?  Budget friendly.  The zucchini is a budget friendly way to stretch the more expensive tomatoes and olives.  Zucchini typically takes on the flavors you add to it, so the garlic and seasoning will make it taste very flavorful, not to mention the great green color it adds.  Don't feel like you have to splurge on heirloom tomatoes for this recipe- the seasoning and the other ingredients provide plenty of color.  Save your splurge for something else.  


Tomato, Zucchini & Olive Bruschetta
perfectly fresh party food for summer

serves 8 people for appetizers

1 zucchini, diced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 small pinch of red pepper flakes
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of cracked pepper
3 cups of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup of kalamata olives
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of cracked pepper
1 large baguette, sliced into 24 slices
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 clove of garlic 

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Place diced zucchini on a baking sheet and toss it in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 small pinch of red pepper flakes, minced garlic clove, 1 teaspoon of sea salt and cracked pepper.  Roast it in the oven for 10 minutes until the zucchini begins to brown on the tips.  Remove from the oven and let cool.

Meanwhile, dice tomatoes and olives and place them in a medium bowl.  Dress the tomatoes and olives with  olive oil, salt & pepper.  Add the zucchini and toss.  Refrigerate until you're ready to use- I like to serve this cold, but it is great at room temperature, too.

Prepare the bread by slicing it into thin slices.  Toast bread just before serving.  You can do it under the broiler in your oven, or on the grill.  Brush the bread with olive oil on both sides.  If broiling, place them on a sheet and place them under the broiler for 1-2 minutes on each side.  Be careful not to burn!  If grilling, also grill the bread on each side for 1-2 minutes.  When you remove them from the grill or oven, let them cool slightly, then rub the raw clove of garlic on each piece.

Serve with the tomato mix and parmesan cheese on the side to be assemble by the guests, so the bread does not get soggy.  If you would like to serve them pre-assembled, I recommend assembling, then serving them immediately from a passed tray.

Piled high.  Don't you like the napkin?  I made it myself!


I gobbled up these three right after shooting... I would plan for 3 per person.  At least.


I think these work great for pre-dinner appetizers because they are not too heavy- light and fresh before dinner so your guests are still hungry!  Paired with some other hors d'oeuvres they are great for a cocktail party, too, as they are substantial enough to be satisfying... think of them as a side dish as party of a mini meal. 

I'm so ready for some Summer parties... and Summer cocktails.  What are your favorites to serve to a crowd?


  1. Yum! As "retro" as they may be, I love to serve bacon-wrapped dates. So easy to make and they are always a hit!

  2. Jenny, you've done it again! Love, love, love this! I, too, can't wait for summer and have been scouring the internet for some recipes I can add to my stash. I love this summer salad :: I have found it's so easy to pull together and can easily be made ahead of time. Thanks again for providing great inspiration and ideas.

  3. I LOVE this! They look SO delicious and yet so simple. It of course helps that your photography and styling makes everything looks incredible scrumptious - but yours is definitely that rare blog where I genuinely end up trying out all of your recipes. Thank you!
    Paula x

  4. I don't remember how I got here, but I stumbled on your blog and have been reading off-and-on for two days. Love your simple delicious recipes, especially the meat free ones!!!

  5. Anonymous10:09 PM

    I just made these tonight, and they were delicious! didn't use as much salt as you called for, though. I used about half as much, and they were still great! Thanks for great recipe!!!

  6. So simple, but so tasty and delicious... with this would be just great one glass of Sauvignon Blanc and this simple meal is served classy...
    Thanks Jenny.

  7. Anonymous4:38 PM

    It looks so elegant. I am going to try one of the recipes.

  8. Hi,
    I really like your post.
    Thanks for sharing such great information. It is very informative and provides knowledge of party staff catering


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