My obsession with tomatoes is well-known and one of the best ways to enjoy really good tomatoes, is of course, in the form of something fresh. I am also too tired and lazy to cook up a storm on an average weeknight so this bruschetta is the perfect thing to have and I usually end up making in any one or a combination of the following scenarios:
- I’m not that hungry and want a sizeable snack
- It is the peak of August and I can get the BEST fresh tomatoes
- I am lazy and don’t have time to make anything fancy so I make this appetizer and eat it as my meal.
Regardless of all that, let’s quickly talk about bruschetta.
Here in the U.S. we have come to know this tomatoes-on-toast appetizer as exactly that, but bruschetta, (pronounced broo-sket-ta) can actually feature any and all toppings imaginable – not just tomatoes. I have a recipe for a prosciutto, fig, and ricotta bruschetta I absolutely love (I will add it soon)
That being said, the most important aspect of any bruschetta is the ingredients. Make sure you get great ingredients – because you’re not doing much to them so you will get the best result out of the freshest, in-season ingredients.
Makes 2 large slices
- 2 medium plum or Roma tomatoes, diced (use heirlooms when in season)
- healthy bunch of fresh basil leaves (about 6-8), cut chiffonade style (how-to video)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled
- 2 large slices of either french baguette, Italian bread, or sour dough bread (your choice, but something that will grill up nicely)
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- First, grill the bread. Pre-heat a large grill pan (or a heavy-bottom pan if you don’t have a grill pan, cast iron also works beautifully) and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to it – spread it evenly. Take the two bread slices and put them in, pressing them flat against the surface. Turn the heat down to low and grill until golden brown and crispy, turn, and repeat on the other side. This will take a few minutes, so be patient.
- Next, in a bowl, combine the diced tomatoes and basil, season with salt and pepper, and add in the remaining 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Toss well to coat the tomatoes – don’t overmix too much so the tomatoes don’t get too mushy/watery.
- Once the bread is grilled on both sides, take the clove of garlic and rub it on one side of each slice – you will notice that the crispy surface of the bread will act like a grater and will grate down the garlic. Doing it this way as opposed to adding the garlic straight into the tomatoes allows very even distribution of garlic and enhances the flavor of the bread. Another alternative, if you don’t like the taste of raw garlic, is to toast it in the pan along with the bread on very low heat and then rub it on the bread. Toasting the garlic will take that raw edge off, but still leave you with the wonderful aroma and a smokier taste.
- Top the bread, garlic side up, with an even layer of the tomatoes, cut into pieces (if using small slices, no need to cut) and serve!
Note – it’s best to top the bread with the tomatoes right before you serve it because if you wait too long, the juice from the tomatoes will make the bread soggy (and there’s nothing worse than soggy bread)