“Sweet, sweet burn of sun and summer wind, and you my friend, my new fun thing, my summer fling.”
~ k.d. lang
It’s not quite summer here in Australia yet, but gee it feels like it! The sun is beating down, the sky is wide and blue, the grass is plush and green beneath my feet, and my leftover-from-winter gardens are already setting bountiful crops. My basil has self-seeded from last summer, and my tomatoes are last season’s vines that keep producing more sweet ripe fruit from their near-dead tangles every time I threaten to pull them out so that I can replant.
Bruschetta is one of my favourite easy meals over the summer. It’s like sunshine and warm hazy afternoons on a slice of bread.
There are so many variations of this recipe. Mine is simple, but if you have quality ingredients you don’t need all the fancy extras. Do yourself a favour – use a good handmade bread, use the sweetest, ripest sunshine-filled tomatoes that you grew yourself or found at the farmers markets (or if you can only find tomatoes at the supermarket leave them on the kitchen window sill in the sun for a few days to ripen a little more and develop that deep sweet taste), fresh garlic, and a good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The better the ingredients, the tastier your end result. Supermarket tomatoes straight from the fridge won’t do this recipe justice. For this recipe I’ve used heirloom cherry tomatoes of a couple of different varieties, because that’s what was in my garden, but any tasty tomato will suffice!
1 to 2 slices of good bread per person (I used a hearty sourdough quinoa and rye); fresh garlic cloves, enough tomatoes to provide a substantial covering for each piece of bread, a couple of large fresh basil leaves, salt (again, use a good one!), a generous slug of extra virgin olive oil and a slug of balsamic vinegar.
Wash the tomatoes and then cut into small pieces. Scrape them into a bowl, add a generous pinch of salt, a slug of olive oil, and a slug of balsamic vinegar. Add a few shredded basil leaves and some finely minced garlic (add enough for your personal taste) and mix well. Allow the tomato mix to sit for ten minutes for the flavours to enhance.
Toast the bread. Lightly crush a garlic clove with the back of a knife and then rub the garlic clove into the toasted bread so that it releases its oils. Discard the clove or keep it for another dish.
Pile the tomato mix onto the toast, pressing it down into the bread, which will soak up the juices. Serve at once.
I couldn’t help myself and took a bite before this pic!
Optional extras: Some people like a little (or a lot) of freshly shaved parmesan cheese on top of their tomato mix, but I think it’s perfect without it! This is also great as an appetiser, served on small rounds of toasted baguette.