Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

 

BruschettaPhoto by: David Beeler

 

Bruschetta is an Italian appetizer (antipasto) that originated in Central Italy.  Many of us think of Bruschetta as the picture above: a slice of bread topped with diced tomatoes and some basil.  The word “bruschetta” actually comes from the verb “brucciare”, which means “to burn / to scorch” and thus refers to the toast on which it is served.  The toppings vary from fresh tomato and basil mixture to tartars, to caramelized onions and cheese, to you name it.

When I lived in Italy, one of the things I loved the most was the fresh flavors of its cuisine.  Could it have something to do with the fact that Italians use a lot of fresh ingredients?  Hmm…  There is nothing better than sitting back, enjoying some appetizers and a refreshing glass of Pinot Grigio, spending time with friends and family, watching the world go by and “prep” the tummy for the delicious dinner that is coming.  Some of the best memories I have from Italy include some sort of food.  (Wow, there’s a surprise, huh?)

This Tomato and Basil Bruschetta is a classic: tomatoes, basil, garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.  Yum!  Some people like to rub the top of the bread with a garlic clove to add a bit more kick, but honestly I think that for this one, the garlic in the tomato mixture is enough – it might overpower a bit otherwise.

Finally, a word of caution: make sure that you do remove all the juices and seeds from the tomatoes.  Too many fluids will make the bread turn soggy.  We want to keep it crisp and fresh!!

Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

Ingredients:

  • 8 small, ripe tomatoes, about 1-1/2 lbs. (750 gr.), cored
  • 2 small or 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 24 thin baguette slices
  • olive oil for brushing

 

Directions:

  • Halve the tomatoes crosswise and gently squeeze out the seeds.  Use a small spoon to scoop out any stubborn remaining seeds.
  • Cut the tomato flesh into 1/4-inch (6-mm) pieces, discarding any tough, pale flesh near the core end.
  • In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, 3/4 tsp. sea salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and olive oil.
  • Toss to coat evenly, adding a little more olive oil if the mixture appears dry.
  • Taste for seasoning and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour, to allow the flavors to marry.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (180 degrees C.).
  • Stack the basil leaves in a neat pile and roll the pile into a cigar shape.
  • Thinly slice the “cigar” crosswise and add the basil to the tomato mixture.  Toss to combine.
  • Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush them lightly with olive oil.
  • Bake until golden, 10-15 minutes.
  • Let cool, then transfer to a serving platter and top each slice with 1 tbsp. of the tomato mixture.
  • Serve immediately.

Peeling Tomatoes: Whether or not to peel a tomato is largely a matter of taste.  For raw tomato preparations such as this bruschetta, peeled tomatoes have a meatier texture, but unpeeled ones may have a fresher flavor.

NOTE:  The tomato mixture can be made up to 1 hour ahead of serving time.  The bread can be toasted the night before and kept in an airtight container at room temperature until serving.

Makes: 24 bites

Enjoy!

(Recipe by: Williams-Sonoma)

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Share Your Recipe!

Do you have a Bruschetta Recipe that you love and would like to share?  Email it to me and I’ll make it.  The success stories will be featured here on M for Mommy!

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