Bruschetta was the first sophisticated dish I could really make. That’s probably because it doesn’t require any cooking and is entirely dependent on the quality of your ingredients. Find some good ripe tomatoes, a decent baguette and you’re in business.
For this recipe I used the abundance of spectacular tomatoes I found this weekend at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. I chose one big striped heirloom tomato, several dry-farmed early girls and half a basket of mixed cherry (red) and sungold (orange) baby tomatoes. It doesn’t matter much what varieties you choose, just make sure they are ripe and have good flavor.
The next essential ingredient is a good baguette. I bought sour and Italian baguettes from Acme Bread Co. To turn your bruschetta from good to amazing, be sure to brush your bread slices with olive oil and lightly toast them in the oven.
For this recipe I added a diced roasted pepper, but feel free to get creative with your ingredients. Chunks of fresh mozzarella are a great addition, especially if you are having a hard time choosing between bruschetta and caprese salad.
This recipe is the perfect summer snack and can be served as a starter, side dish or brought to a potluck (keep bread and topping separate until you arrive).
Summer Tomato Bruschetta
- 2 c. diced summer tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic, worked through garlic press
- 1/4 c. good quality extra-virgin olive oil
- juice of half lemon
- 8-10 basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
- paprika, to taste (optional)
- good sea salt, to taste
- red bell pepper, fire roasted (optional)
- splash of balsamic vinegar (optional)
- sour baguette, sliced into 1/2 in. discs at an angle
If you are roasting a pepper, start by turning on a burner and placing the pepper on top. Blacken the skin evenly by using tongs to turn periodically. When the pepper is completely blackened, remove from flame and allow to cool. Scrape off blackened skin with a dull knife or fork, remove seeds, dice and set aside.
In the meantime preheat oven to 325 F and slice bread.
Combine first 9 ingredients in a mixing bowl. Some people add sugar, but I prefer to add a splash of balsamic vinegar if I want a little more sweetness. Paprika is also optional, but I find it adds a nice, subtle complexity. Don’t be shy with your sea salt in this recipe. Allow mixture to marinate briefly, stirring occasionally.
Next brush your baguette slices on one side with olive oil and place in warm oven. Toast for 6-10 minutes. Monitor carefully and do not allow to burn.
Place baguette slices on your serving plate and heap marinated tomatoes on top. Add extra small spoonfuls of juice on top of the mixture to add flavor and soften bread.
Serve immediately and crack the champagne.
What do you add to your bruschetta?