Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bruschetta, A Super Simple Summer Treat

The tomatoes are in, and when they come in, they really come in! We are deluged with gifts of tomatoes, so there are lots of tomato sandwiches at our house, and plenty of salade caprese, that classic pairing of tomatoes, mozarella and basil. It was that salad that inspired this appetizer that I made for my husband for his August birthday.

We love bruschetta, and when you are drowning in tomatoes, what could be better? The basil in my garden is lush and green, and the pairing of tomatoes and basil is simply classic, simply delicious.

Simple Bruschetta

5 medium almost over ripe tomatoes

1 clove garlic, finely minced

12 large basil leaves

pinch of sugar

salt and pepper to taste

3 T. good extra virgin olive oil

1 loaf french baguette

about 3 -4 oz. fresh mozarella (that's about 1/2 of a medium size ball of it)

Preheat your oven to 275. Thinly slice the baguette and put it on a cookie sheet. Place it in the oven for 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and let it sit for 30 more minutes.

Finely chop your tomatoes and drain off a little of the clear juice. If the skins are tough, you may want to skin them first. (Very easy to do, just dunk them into boiling water, pull them out out immediately and let them cool to the touch. The skins just slip right off!)

Roll your basil leaves together like a cigar and cut them thinly -- this is called a chiffonade in chef-speak. Mix the tomatoes, minced garlic, basil, salt, sugar, pepper and olive oil in a non-metal bowl. Place it in the frig for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors come together.

Put one spoonful of the tomato mixture on top of each toast. Count how many you have (probably somewhere around 24) and cut your mozarella into that many small squares. Place one on top of each toast and run it under the broiler for 3 minutes or less, until the mozaralla is just melted.

Delicious served as an appetizer, a side dish or even a light lunch. Refrigerate any leftover tomato mixture and use it on grilled chicken or fish, or even heated up slightly and put over pasta.

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