If you’re lucky, summertime means fresh tomatoes from the garden! If you don’t have a garden/green thumb, maybe you have family or neighbors who do. Your local Farmers Market is probably bursting at the seams with tomatoes, too.
I’m a little finicky and don’t really like biting into a tomato like and apple… I like to peel and remove the inside seeds/gook first. But after that… oh the possibilities! Chunks of fresh tomato are great for sauces, soups, and pico de gallo. But the snack that truely turned me into a fresh-tomato fan: Bruschetta!
I love making this because
1. It’s delicious
2. I already own the other ingredients needed
3. I love toast too
4. You make it in advance, and just pull it out of the fridge when needed. Grab-And-Go!
5. It’s “fancy” enough to serve to guests, and particularly great for parties because of reason #4
Each time I’ve made this, I’ve used a different type of basil. Mainly because it was the basil my family had growing at that particular moment. Sweet Italian is the basil most people think of when cooking (thanks to Food TV). But I’ve had just as much success with Sweet Aussie Basil (developed in Austin, TX) and Cinnamon Basil (don’t let the name deter you; it works great!).
There are no hard and fast rules for bruschetta, but here’s the recipe I’ve has the greatest success with. It tastes good on little toasts (recipe at the end of this post). But if you don’t have a baguette handy, it’s delicious on Triscut Crackers or grilled chicken!
Tomato Basil Bruschetta
2 cups of chopped tomatoes (how many tomatoes is that?!)
1/4 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp chopped garlic
Pinch of sugar
1-2 teaspoons of Balsamic (or red wine) vinegar
Combine above ingredients in a re-sealable container. If not eating right away, put the mixture in the refrigerator. I make some in the morning, and pull it out of the fridge for dinner time, and it looks/tastes just fine. Making a batch 2-3 days ahead is just fine too (mare time to marinate & flavors will combine)
Crostini (Little Toasts)
1 baguette (Long skinny loaf of french bread)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Cut the bread at an angle into slices about ½-inch-thick. You don’t have to be exact, just make sure the slices are roughly the same size.
Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil.
Spread out on a baking sheet and sprinkle each slice with salt. (Salt on toast- something I picked up from the chefs at work)
Bake for about 10 minutes, until lightly toasted.
Congratulations, you have essentially just made a really big crouton.