Friday, September 12, 2014

Classic Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

When I was a little girl, my mom had a boyfriend from Italy.  They met while they were vacationing separately in Mexico and spent quite a bit of time together in Italy.  While the relationship did not last, a couple recipes he gave her have stood the test of time.  One of them being this delectable appetizer that consists of only 6 ingredients and really could not be easier.  We use Roma tomatoes for their sweet, acidic bite and fresh basil leaves that add a peppery aroma and taste.  Alas, the star of this show is the garlic that is used in two forms and elevates the dish to next level status.  Just be sure your date or guest are eating this one too, which should not be a problem!

Here is what you need:

1 French or Sourdough Baguette
2-2 1/2 lbs of Roma Tomatoes
3 Tbsp of good Extra Virgin Oil
15-20 Fresh Basil leaves
1/2 tsp of Pepper
1/2 -1 tsp of Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp Garlic Power
3-4 Cloves of Peeled Garlic

First, slice your tomatoes vertically and scoop out the seeds and juicy parts.   This part is the most time consuming, but trust me, it is worth it.  This will leave just the meaty part of the tomato so your bruschetta is not watery.  

Next, dice your tomatoes so they are about a half inch in size. 

Now, place your mountain of tomatoes to a bowl to season them.  Add your olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  It sounds like a lot of salt, and it IS a lot of salt, but remember that it is seasoning 2 pounds of tomatoes and a baguette.  With that said, please taste as you go and season to your own preference.  After you season, slice or tear your basil.  I like to chiffonade my basil, which is stacking your basil leaves in a pile and rolling them like a cigar.  Then, slice in thin strips and you will get pretty, curly strips of basil.  

When you have your goods mixed, put it in the refrigerator for at least an hour to let it marinate.  When the hour is up, taste it and adjust the seasoning to your taste.  This is a very important step, and I usually add a touch more salt.  While your tomatoes have been marinating,something magical has happened.  A tomato juice of sorts has been created and it is beyond yummy.  When the tomatoes are long gone, the juice is there to dip your bread in and it is a beautiful thing.  
I could literally drink this stuff, it is so amazing.

After you taste your tomatoes, turn your broiler on to toast your bread.  Arrange the bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil.  While this happening, get your garlic cloves ready to roll.

Toast your bread to your liking, being careful not to burn it. Take the bread out of the oven, and start rubbing your garlic cloves all over the hot bread.  Be careful not to burn yourself on this crucial step because the hot bread will melt the garlic so it leaves the most amazing taste.  This step is what makes the bruschetta world go round.  

 When this step is complete, you are ready to serve and eat.  Lucky!!

I hope you enjoy this dish from my childhood as much as my family does!