This bright, fresh healthy Cranberry and Pomegranate Bruschetta makes a delightful appetizer but there are tons of other delicious ways to use the topping - check it out!
I heard a little birdie say you were looking for something exciting for your appetizer collection. If I was listening correctly, the fine-feathered friend said, you wanted something seasonal, festive, fabulously delicious and super easy to put together. You're not asking for much, are you? Nope .... not at all. Actually, your wish is my command. I've gotcha covered with this wonderful Cranberry and Pomegranate Bruschetta!
This bright, fresh appetizer is all that - and more! Besides being gorgeous as a bruschetta topping it's also fantastic spooned over a block of cream cheese or a log of goat cheese. Add a sprinkle of finely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley and you've got an offering that's pretty as a picture for all your holiday gatherings and get-togethers. Serve this with crisp crackers or (if you want to keep it light and lean), thickly sliced English cucumber - an amazingly festive presentation!
Oh, and if you're looking for a way to dress up every-day chicken this crimson relish will do the trick. Use it as a festive, healthy topping for grilled or pan-seared boneless chicken breasts or thighs. With fresh cranberries, pomegranate arils, honey, ginger, cilantro, orange zest and a splash of Sriracha, it's sweet, spicy and bursting with vibrant flavor.
One last idea, take ¼ cup of the cranberry-pom relish, add 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, a pinch of sea salt and a generous grind of fresh black pepper. Drizzle in 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and now you've got a super delicious salad dressing that just screams "holidays"! Toss arugula, field greens or fresh spinach with a splash of the pretty dressing. Add a few orange slices and maybe a handful of toasted walnuts,voilá! A super salad everyone will be raving about!
P.S. Intimidated by pomegranates? I used to be - but no more! I discovered this wonderful technique for deseeding poms in less than a minute, NO FUSS, NO MESS, NO WATER!!
- For the cranberry-pomegranate relish:
- 1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries, washed
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger don't worry about chopping it too fine at this point
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
- ½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- zest from one orange reserve a bit for garnish
- ¾-1 cup pomegranate arils or seeds* reserve a few for garnish
- finely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish
- For the crostini:
- 1 thin good quality baguette, sliced about ¼ inch thick
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened (I always use the lower fat, not no-fat)
Place the cranberries, ginger, sugar, honey and Sriracha in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse on and off several times till cranberries are coarsely chopped. Don't process too much.
Add cilantro and pulse a few more times. Not too much, you want cilantro bits to be visible and mixture to be a bit chunky.
Transfer to a storage container and add pomegranate arils* and orange zest. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or till ready to use.
For the crostini, preheat oven to 350˚F. Line 2 sheet pans with foil or parchment paper, if desired for easy clean up.
Place baguette slices on prepared pans. Brush lightly with oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and a grind of pepper.
Bake for 14-18 minutes or until golden, rotating pans halfway through baking time.
To assemble bruschetta, whisk cream cheese until creamy. Spread about ½-1 tablespoon on each crostini. Top with a scoop of the relish. Garnish with a bit of orange zest, if desired.
You should get about 50-60 crostini. If you don't use them all, store in an airtight container. They can also be frozen and warmed for just a few minutes before serving.
* If you avoid pomegranates or are intimated by them because they're a pain to de-seed, BE SURE to check out this step by step tutorial: How to de-seed a pomegranate with NO FUSS, NO MESS, NO WATER, in less than a minute! It's quite life changing ............ at least when it comes to us pom lovers! 🙂