Sunday, June 28, 2009
Bruschetta is one of my very most favorite summer foods. It's bursting with fresh tomato and basil flavor atop the satisfying crunch of fresh baked crusty bread and a final kick of balsamic vinegar. And NOW is the time for bruschetta. You can't bottle it or freeze it. Bruschetta is at it's very best with summer fresh ingredients.
Let's look at the ingredients: tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil,kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, fresh baked French or Italian bread, balsamic vinegar, and freshly grated or shaved Parmesan cheese.
I begin by combining the diced tomato, thinly sliced basil, minced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. It needs to sit for the flavors to mix and mingle for at least 15 minutes.
Next, I slice up my bread, about an inch thick. I like to use Italian bread. I think it's a little softer and there's more surface area to cover with that delicious bruschetta.
I brushed mine with a little olive oil and ground a little fresh pepper over each slice.
Then I turned the bread over to "the grillmaster", my husband, for toasting. Funny story: While making my Grilled Sub Sandwiches recently, I was "manning" the grill. My oldest daughter addressed me with a touch of attitude, "What are you doing! You can't use the grill! Do you know how to work that? Daddy uses the grill." I just gave her a sideways look. No lie, since the birth of our children, we have fallen into very traditional roles in this house. I do the housework. He does the yard work. I do the laundry. He takes out the trash and changes the light bulbs. I cook. He grills. But I had a whole life on my own before I entered into marital bliss. I CAN GRILL, DARN IT! Probably not the time to go into all of this with a 4 year old, so I let it go and reminisced. But, I've gotta teach that girl how to grill!
Now for the balsamic vinegar. I happened to have some wonderful balsamic dipping oil that our friends introduced us to over the winter. We were playing cards. On the table were a basket of cut up French bread and a bowl of this dipping oil. At first bite, I thought, "that's pretty good." An hour later, we'd eaten a whole loaf of bread and re-filled the bowl of dipping oil twice. It's addictive! If you don't have any "dipping oil" straight up balsamic vinegar works great too. Just use a little less. About 5-8 drops per slice of bread.
Here's the bread, adorned with balsamic dipping oil, just waiting for the yummy bruschetta topping.
Top with the bruschetta topping and grate a little Parmesan cheese over the top. I used parmigiano-reggiano cheese. Love that stuff!
The whole weekend here has been gorgeous. No way were we wasting one second indoors for eating. For a light summer meal, we ate this on the deck with a pitcher of ice cold water and a big bowl of cut up watermelon. This bruschetta was lovely for a low-key Sunday night, but it's awesome with a few close friends on your deck at happy hour. I'm seriously tempted by girlichef's Blueberry Pomgria or Mary at My New 30's Watermelon Margaritas (and I don't even like tequila!)Next time....
1-1/2 cup fresh ripe tomatoes, chopped
10 basil leaves, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/2 loaf Italian bread, cut into 1 inch slices, then cut in half
Combine first six ingredients. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. Slice and halve bread. Brush with olive oil and top with a little more fresh ground pepper. Grill or broil until toasted. Drizzle bread with balsamic vinegar and top with bruschetta mixture. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
For a printable copy of this recipe, click here.