Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bruschetta - where tomatoes SHINE

My daughter loves bruschetta. She requests it all the time. When we picked up our farm share this week and she saw the tomatoes and the basil she immediately shouted for bruschetta.


I also love bruschetta. I love it for its simplicity. It’s a “cruda” at its best – simple, flavorful ingredients chopped roughly and combined simply. It’s also a perfect summer dish. Bruschetta makes a simple, flavorful use of all kinds of amazing ingredients, with simple basic preparations. Because of the bounty of tomatoes this year, I’m posting a traditional tomato recipe today, but look around on-line and I’m sure you’ll find recipes using chick peas, roasted garlic, olives, anchovies, eggplant and all kinds of amazing ingredients. But for today, we’re going for summer simplicity. This is also a perfect summer recipe because nothing gets cooked, meaning you’re not introducing any heat to your kitchen!

What kind of tomatoes should you use for this? You can use ANY tomato you have. I used the beautiful little black cherry heirloom tomatoes. I halved the very small ones, and quartered the larger ones, so that I had uniform sized pieces. In the recipe below I call for “diced tomatoes” - but halving and quartering smaller heirloom cherry varieties is good, too.

Tomato Basil Mozzarella Bruschetta
• 1 cup diced tomatoes
• 3 – 4 leaves basil, stacked, rolled and sliced very, very thin. (Here’s a description of the chiffonade technique)
• ½ cup diced FRESH mozerella – use fresh, seriously. It makes a huge difference.
• 1 tbsp olive oil (a drizzle)
• 2 tsp balsamic vinegar (a smaller drizzle)
• Salt & Pepper to taste (a pinch and a grind if ya’ know what I’m saying….)
• A baguette or a loaf ciabatta or some other chewy, crusty, lovely bread, sliced.

Combine everything BUT the bread in a bowl and stir to combine. Spoon the mixture on to the sliced bread. Some people start with toasted bread, and that’s good too. Toasted bread will maintain more texture when the wet tomatoes are introduced, and for parties or any time the bruschetta will sit at all, this is preferable, and you should toast the bread. But at home, we like the bread untoasted, so it soaks up all of the juices. (But then you have to eat it right away, so it doesn’t get soggy, dig?)

This is such a simple appetizer, but we also enjoy it as dinner on easy nights, with maybe a little deli meat, maybe some olives, maybe a bowl of gazpacho.

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