My dad's office is conveniently located next to a wonderful flower shop. It's easy to see from taking a quick glance around our house that my dad has developed a great relationship with the florists over the years, as they send him home with flowers, herbs, plants, fruits and veggies, sometimes as much as several times a week. So when my dad brought home a big box filled with pounds and pounds of Ontario tomatoes, the pressure was on to quickly think up some delicious summer tomato dishes to use up the fruit before it went bad. With a thriving basil plant in my garden, there was no question in my mind what I was going to make.
Bruschetta is one of my favourite appetizers to order at a restaurant. Just like sushi, bruschetta is one of those dishes that I could be in the mood to eat any time of day, any time of year. Just put a plate of it in front of me and it will surely be devoured in a matter of moments. I remember a few years ago my family fell in love with a packaged tomato bruschetta mix that we used to pick up at Costco all the time. When I say all the time, I absolutely mean that. We loved that bruschetta mix so much we not only topped our toasted bread with it, but added it to omelettes, pastas, quiches, pizzas, you name it! So as soon as I saw all those beautiful ripe tomatoes just waiting to be cooked with, I immediately thought back on those lovely bruschetta memories. I couldn't believe that I had never made bruschetta from scratch before. With only a few simple ingredients, bruschetta is so super simple to make. In fact, you can even prepare the tomato topping in advance, and toast and assemble the bread when it's time for dinner, or, if entertaining, when your guests arrive. I whipped up the bruschetta in no time, and proudly served it to my family, knowing damn well that my fresh tomato bruschetta would blow Costco's out of the water. Sure enough my family went nuts over my bruschetta, proclaiming that we would never again buy bought bruschetta mix ever again!
Note: You may be wondering why I keep specifying that this is a tomato bruschetta. The reason is that bruschetta actually just means toasted bread. Sure we are most familiar to the juicy tomato topping most found in restaurants, but in fact you can top bruschetta with just about anything! I love to get ideas on what to top my bruschetta with from Pizzeria Libretto's menu or twitter feed. They change their homemade bruschetta all the time, always coming up with unique flavour combinations utilizing what's in season. Play around with your bruschetta! You'll be amazed by how versatile it can be!
Ingredients:2 tomatoes, chopped into about 1/2-inch pieces, with as much seeds removed as possible
6 basil leaves, chopped
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 baguette or country loaf cut into about 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch slices
salt and pepper to season
1. In a medium bowl, stir together the chopped tomatoes with the basil and balsamic vinegar. Set aside.
2. Lay out the slices of bread on a baking sheet and brush the tops with olive oil. Toast in a 350-400º oven until bread is toasted, golden-brown and crisp.
3. Remove from oven and immediately rub the top of each slice with fresh garlic. Top with tomato mixture and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
lykke li - knocked up
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