A lot of my friends have been asking me for recipes to use their lovely, ripe, end of season tomato harvest.
The fact that I have friends with too many tomatoes is completely frustrating to me in my current garden-less, tomato-less state.
Still, I am happy to oblige them with recipes because I firmly believe that there aren’t many things better than the perfect garden ripe tomato.
One of the best and easiest uses for tomatoes is Bruschetta!
Basically a tomato salad on toasty bread – the bread is crispy, the tomatoes soft, and the basil herby. Pretty much a perfect combination.
Here’s what you need:
Bread, Tomatoes, Garlic, Basil, Olive Oil, Vinegar, Salt & Pepper.
Red and yellow tomatoes make a gorgeous topping but you should certainly use the tomatoes that are the ripest regardless of color.
Sometimes I peel the tomatoes, sometimes I don’t. It really depends on how much time I have an also how good the tomatoes look. If they have blemishes on the skin, I would opt for peeling them under a quick scald of boiling water.
Cut the tomatoes in half and give them a gentle squeeze over the trash to remove some of the seeds. Dice the tomatoes into small pieces and place them in a bowl. I have about 2 cups of chopped tomatoes.
Finely chop 1/4 cup of fresh basil and add it to the tomatoes. Add 1 Tablespoon of good olive oil and 1-2 teaspoons of vinegar.
I’m a little tired of balsamic vinegar in everything these days so I’ve opted for good old red wine vinegar. White wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, and sherry vinegar would also all be good. Balsamic works too if you’re not on balsamic overload like me.
Season to taste with salt & pepper.
Stir to combine all of the ingredients and let the tomatoes rest AT ROOM TEMPERATURE to marinate.
Take a nice loaf of crusty bread and cut several pieces about 1/2 inch thick.
I’m not giving a lot of precise measurements here because you have to sort of estimate how much bread you will need for the number of tomatoes you are using.
You have a couple of options for toasting the bread – on the grill
or in the oven under the broiler. I like to spritz the bread (or brush it lightly) with a little olive oil to help it brown and toast better.
Using the grill has the benefit of the lovely grill marks but don’t let the lack of a grill stop you. Bread toasts just fine in the oven. I like to use the broiler function but put the bread in the middle of the oven NOT right up under the broiler. You can also just toast it in the oven at about 400 degrees if your broiler gets too hot.
However you get the bread toasty, right when it comes out of the grill/oven, cut a clove of garlic in half and vigorously rub the top of each piece of bread with the garlic.
This gives you essence of garlic (and plenty of it) without biting into raw pieces of garlic in the tomato topping.
Top each piece of toasted bread with a spoonful of the tomatoes.
If you like your bruschetta very crispy, eat them right away. Otherwise, if you let the tomatoes soak into the bread for a few minutes (while you pour the champagne) the bread starts to soften.
Either way, bruschetta is a big plateful of summer!
Other favorite tomato recipes you should consider are Panzanella Salad which is sort of like bruschetta in a bowl, Gazpacho – either traditional gazpacho or funky watermelon gazpacho. You can even make gazpacho into a layered salad.
If you still have tomatoes left over, send them to me.
Here’s the recipe:
PS. Bruschetta? Pronounced with a SK sound, not an SH. Italians everywhere thank you.