"Queer Eye" Chef Antoni Porowski Shares His Sweet and Savory Twist On Bruschetta

The secret is in the...strawberries. How faaaaab.

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Bruschetta
Photo: Antoni Porowski

If you're looking for a tasty and unique option to bring to all your socially-distanced summer gatherings, Antoni Porowski has you covered. Queer Eye's resident food guru joined Shape for a virtual cooking lesson, whipping up strawberry goat cheese bruschetta inspired by a very important person in his life: Ted Allen, the OG Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's food expert.

I meaaaan, could you love Porowski more? The answer: yes and always yes.

ICYDK, the Quebec native worked as Allen's assistant years before serving as the food aficionado of Netflix's hit reboot series (kismet!).

"Ted Allen taught me a lot of things, but one of the most important, arguably, was that strawberries belong in a bruschetta. Since adding the berry for the first time, I haven't been able to make them without it," Porowski told Shape. "My version here amps up the weight with a bit of sharp goat cheese and two techniques everyone should know when making a classic, or not-so-classic, bruschetta." (See also: No-Cook Summer Side Dish Recipes with Fresh, Seasonal Produce)

Aside from how easy this dish is to make, it's also extremely versatile. Not a fan of strawberries? Simply sub in your favorite berries instead. Dairy-free or vegan? Try a cheese substitute. "A piece of grilled bread with olive oil on its own is magical," says Porowski, who, BTW, is teaming up with Verizon to launch the Verizon Visa Card. So, anything you add is just the, er, cherry (tomatoes!) on top.

Speaking of tomatoes...be sure to store them in a cool, dark spot on the counter rather than in the fridge—that is, unless they're cherry tomatoes—as the fridge's chilly temps can ruin the juicy fruits (yes, fruit!) texture and make them gritty, according to Porowski. And if a tomato is underripe, leave it out and put it in the sun to ripen it up a bit quicker, he adds. (

Porowski's last PSA is on black pepper: When it comes to the seasoning, fresh is best. The corgi-crazed chef isn't a fan of pre-ground powdered pepper because it's "flavorless" and gets stuck in your teeth—ick. Instead, he prefers freshly cracked pepper or buying fresh peppercorns and grinding them up with a mortar and pestle.

Antoni Porowski's Strawberry Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Makes: about 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ripe strawberries, organic preferred
  • 2-3 heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, torn into pieces
  • Olive oil—Porowski recommends Brightland 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Buy It, $37, brightland.co)
  • Balsamic vinegar—Porowski recommends Villa Manodori Balsamic Vinegar (Buy It, $50, williamsonoma.com)
  • Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 fresh baguette
  • 1 head garlic
  • 80z package regular goat cheese—let sit at room temp for ~30 min for easy spreading
  • Salt, to taste
  • Parmigiano Reggiano for shaving (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat a grill pan (or nonstick pan) over medium-high heat.
  2. Dice strawberries and tomatoes (use a serrated knife) into equal-sized cubes. Tear fresh basil (2-3 leaves) and add to the mixture. Add a small drizzle each of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and add fresh cracked pepper to taste. Toss and set aside.
  3. Brush olive oil onto both sides of baguette slices. (FYI: If you don't have a brush, you can pour some olive oil into a dish and very lightly dip each side of the bread to cover it.)
  4. Place slices on grill pan and toast until dark char marks appear, about 2-3 minutes on each side. If you don't have a grill pan, you can use a broiler, regular pan, toaster, or even barbecue.
  5. Cut off the top of one clove of garlic, rubbing along the edges of the toasted bread to add just enough garlic-y goodness. (
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