Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Classic Bruschetta

There is nothing that tastes like summer to me more than a ripe, flavorful tomato! When they're in season I love to prepare a classic tomato bruschetta.

First make sure you have the freshest, ripest tomatoes you can find. I use the small cherry or grape tomatoes as I find they have the best flavor for the bruschetta and are the easiest to work with. It's important to squeeze out the seeds and juice.  I know a lot of people don't bother with this step but it really does improve the flavor and texture of the bruschetta. It's very easy and doesn't take that much more time.  You just cut the stem end off of the tomato and squeeze the other end gently until the seeds and juice are released from the open end of the tomato.

Then chop the tomatoes.  I prefer fairly small pieces but if you prefer larger pieces that's fine too. This is a rustic dish and there really is no right or wrong way.  I also like to prepare my oil mixture in advance.  I use about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of good E.V. olive oil depending on how much I'm making. I add approximately 2 - 3 finely chopped cloves of garlic to the oil. The authentic Italian way is to rub the garlic over the toasted bread slices but I prefer to let the garlic meld with the oil a little to get a more intense flavor. I've never been afraid of a little garlic! I also add some fresh rosemary and thyme if I have it.

Once the oil mixture has had a chance to sit for a while I then pour it over the chopped tomatoes and add lots of basil and salt & pepper to taste.  Don't be afraid to be generous with the salt as the tomatoes will soak it up.  Generously top toasted slices of a good quality (important!) baguette with the bruschetta mixture.  Add a glass of a nice Pinot Grigio and enjoy the taste of summer!

 What's your favorite taste of summer?

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