Italy in summer is hot for sure, but that heat that beats down also produces some of the best vegetables known to man, most importantly the epic tomatoes, which proprietors of small restaurants around the south of the country grow in small pots outside of their kitchens. I can’t tell you how unique an experience it is to literally see the chef walk out of his kitchen to the back patio, pick some cherry tomatoes off of his cherry tomato bush and bring them back in to make our bruschetta in the heart of Positano on the Amalfi Coast.
Of course, what many don’t realize is that like any great sandwich being all about the bread, bruschetta is no different. Great, fresh bread has such a great flavor, and paired along with the olive oil, herbs and tomatoes creates one of my favorite appetizers ever. The Italiens have (not surprisingly) perfected this, and a big part of it is this simplicity. It’s literally 5 ingredients, plus a sixth (herbs of your choice), but those are optional. I’ll keep this post short and simple, the way this recipe should be and keep dreaming about those evenings walking around town looking for the fresh tomatoes and other crostinis – we couldn’t stay away from this dish and sampled it almost everyday. Here’s how we re-create it at home:
Somewhat simple construction of this dish. Simply dice the tomatoes into rough chunks. Delicately place the tomatoes into a large bowl and add a pinch of salt and a generous splash of olive oil. Remember to use the best olive oil you got for this dish, it really makes a difference! Mix in the herbs you’re using with the tomatoes and set aside to rest.
Next, cut the bread to the desired width – I really like mine a little on the thicker side, but not too thick. Toast the bread in the toaster until golden brown but still soft in the middle. You’re looking for a good crunch, but still a chewy middle. Don’t overlook this step! Remember to toast the bread well and you’ll be happy.
Once the bread is done, take your clove of garlic and rub it generously on each piece while it’s still hot from the toaster. You then want to drizzle a little olive oil right onto the bread, over the garlic.
Top with the tomato mixture and serve immediately! Enjoy -
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