Very ripe tomatoes lingering in the crisper means bruschetta. The epitome of summer’s flavour, I prefer to make it at home than order it in a restaurant. Partly because I can consume with abandon (I use a smash-in-face technique which is not a pretty sight). The second reason being it’s dead simple to put together. High satisfaction, low effort and low cost.
As with most simple things, getting it perfect is a matter of preparation. The bread, preferably ciabatta, though Vienna loaf is a favourite for its absorbent characteristics, is toasted with fruity, extra virgin olive oil. It’s a bit sacrilegious to, well, basically burn EVOO, but it tastes like caramel when it comes out! Rubbed with garlic and piled high with tomatoes and a touch of balsamic, the macerated juices soften the toast to a divine, crispy, sodden and fragrant bread salad. When I find myself alone for dinner, this is what I have.
By Libertine Eats
A few drops of balsamic glaze (or vinegar) makes all the difference. The vinegar macerates the tomatoes, softens the onion and sweetens the run off juices. It’s not necessary to rub the toast with garlic, but the pungency of the garlic heightens the basil. Not for the faint of breath, of course.
Serves two people in love. Valentine’s Day is coming…
2 vine ripened tomatoes or 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
1/3 Spanish red onion
few drops of balsamic glaze or balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, for seasoning
2 big, thick slices of good ciabatta or Vienna loaf
extra virgin olive oil
1 fat clove of garlic
fresh Italian sweet basil
Wash, deseed and dice the tomatoes into bite sized chunks. If using cherry tomatoes, slice into halves or quarters.
Finely dice the onion.
In a bowl, toss the tomatoes and onion with balsamic glaze or vinegar, salt and pepper. Leave to sit at room temperature until ready to serve.
Lightly douse both sides of the bread with olive oil. Heat a grill pan to medium high heat. Slide the bread on.
Meanwhile, cut the garlic clove in half.
Toast the bread on both sides until golden and crispy and take it off the heat. Carefully, without getting burnt, vigorously rub the cut side of the garlic on both sides.
Tear the basil leaves into the tomatoes. Dribble some extra virgin olive oil into the salad and lightly toss.
Spoon the wonderfully sweet, macerated tomatoes onto each piece of toast and if you like, drizzle more olive oil over the plate.
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