Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tomato & Basil Bruschetta

There is really nothing better in a summer meal than some bread, tomatoes and basil. But when the bread is toasted and kissed with garlic, this becomes a simple yet beautiful Italian appetizer- bruschetta [broo-sket-uh] .

I have made endless variations of this classic- toasted bread brushed with oil, chopped garlic in with the tomatoes, large leaves of basil and sometimes warmed in the oven with cheese adorning the crispy breads. This version ensures that the bread is crisp and that you are getting the perfect combination of garlic, tomatoes and basil in each bite. If your ingredients are perfectly fresh, you will want to serve this at room temperature to savour all those flavours.

It can be an appetizer when served on small pieces of baguette as I usually do, but served on some hearty slices of french or sourdough and topped with some melted cheese, it really becomes more of a meal.

So simple, so tasty and so summery perfect!

Smell those tomatoes and basil before you buy them to make sure they still have the scent of summer before buying them. And please never, ever keep your tomatoes in the fridge!

Tomato & Basil Bruchetta
Serves 4 as an appetizer
You can toast the bread in the oven under the broiler or on your BBQ as you wait for your meal. Make this self-serve so the bread doesn't get soggy, by leaving the bowl of tomato mixture in the middle of the platter with toasted bread slices all around. Or, put some shredded provolone or mozzarella on top and broil until bubbly.

1/2 baguette, sliced on diagonal
1 clove garlic, cut in half
2 large roma tomatoes, chopped
handful of fresh basil
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste

1. Preheat broiler.
2.. Place baguette slices on sheet pan under broiler for approximately 3 minutes, but watch carefully! They should be just gently tanned and not brown at all. Turn over and repeat on other side for about 2 minutes. Remove from oven and rub one side of each slice with cut garlic until the bread glistens. Use about one clove for every 8-10 slices. Place on platter.
3. Combine tomatoes, basil, olive oil and salt. Set aside for a few minutes for flavours to meld.
4. If serving immediately, spoon tomato mixture onto bread, otherwise serve it alongside.