Bruschetta. It sounds like some as-seen-on-tv type product. “Buy now, and get TWO bruschetta for the price of one! Just pay additional shipping and handling.”
I don't know about you, but every year we say that we're NOT going to do tomatoes in the garden, and every year we end up doing tomatoes. Friends give us plants, or I do the whole, “Well, I DO love Roma Tomatoes… ONE plant won't be terrible,” thing. Next thing you know, I'm scrambling to find out what to do with all these dang tomatoes!
I'm not a fan of making sauce from scratch, despite my Italian heritage. It's not hard, it's just time consuming and you need a bajillion and four tomatoes to make anything worth canning or freezing. I've done it with sauce, and then of course with chili, and then I'm all… “What the hell do I do with the rest of these freaking things?” I'm pretty picky about the canned tomatoes I buy, however… but that's another story!
Enter bruschetta. I call it Italian Salsa. It's one of the only two ways you'll ever catch me eating a raw tomato. (The other way? Salsa.)
Now, typically I only ever make bruschetta with Romas, because they're missing that ‘seed gel' (what the heck is that called, now?) and are more firm and flavorful, but since we have one plant a friend gave us that produces all kinds of different colored heirlooms, I added a yellow tomato in the mix.
I'm sitting here after devouring the plate above, and keep reaching for another bite and it's all gone. *sadface* Oh, there's more in the fridge and it'll keep in there for a few days (but never lasts that long). In fact, I predict it disappearing right after I publish this post!
So here's what you need for the best bruschetta ever:
- 1 baguette, sliced into 1-inch pieces and toasted lightly on a cookie sheet in the oven while you're mixing up the rest. Feel free to brush the pieces with olive oil for some extra flavor, too!
- 1 large yellow tomato and 4-5 Roma tomatoes (or just 7-8 Romas) – finely chopped
(TIP: If using any regular tomatoes, don't include the seeds or seed gel, it makes it too soggy.)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (jarred is fine)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I use Filippo Berio‘s Robust)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced/chopped fresh basil leaves
(Using dried is ‘sacrilege' but if you do, just let it soak longer)
- 1/2 cup fresh shredded parmesan, asiago, and/or romano cheese
- salt & pepper to taste (I use about half a teaspoon of salt, but I like things salty, and it's a good balance to the sweetness of the tomatoes)
- Put the bread slices in the oven to toast while mixing up the rest of the ingredients. Put the sheet on a low rack in the oven and let it go at 250 degrees for about 5-10 minutes. No need to toast both sides.
- Add remaining ingredients to a medium mixing bowl and stir well.
- Allow it to marinate for 15 minutes at room temperature. After that, place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Spoon about 3 tablespoons of bruschetta mixture onto each toasted slice. (I'm very much not into measuring this, I just heap it on until it looks right.)
- DEVOUR the taste of summer!
TIP: If you make this the day before a party or dinner, just place it on the table with the toasted bread around it and a spoon in the serving bowl. I also promise you won't have any of this incredibly tasty bruschetta left, so if you wanted to keep some for yourself, don't put it out!
BUDGETING: If you get the tomatoes and basil (and even the garlic) from your garden like I did, you're talking pennies here for that. The cheese (if you grate it yourself), and other ingredients aren't too expensive either. The only time this gets pricier is when it comes to having to buy everything up front. I almost always have olive oil and balsamic in my kitchen, as well as the cheese. The baguette will run you around $3, but can be used for multiple meals if your bakery makes 'em long.