Bruschetta - Easy

Second in the Tomato Days recipe is bruschetta.  Bruschetta is a round of toasted, thinly sliced baguette (I prefer French over Italian bread because it makes one-bite servings), topped with a mixture of tomatoes, vinegar, oil and herbs and spices.  Just like chicken soup, there are a myriad of ingredient variations.

The interesting thing is, if you change the basil to cilantro, you pretty much have salsa.   It's amazing how making such a little change can affect a recipe so.

Holey bread, Batman!

You can slice the baguette (and I hope that your has smaller holes) a few days prior to or a few hours before you plan to serve the bruschetta.  That way the slices can dry out naturally.  If you can't plan that far in advance, place the baguette slices in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet.  Place in the broiler for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, watching carefully so they don't burn.  Remove as soon as the slices start to brown.

I can't believe that I've never posted the recipe for bruschetta before, since I make it at least once a month.  It's quick, easy and makes a lot, which is good since you might eat half the batch before it makes its way to the table.

makes 3-4 servings as an appetizer

1 baguette French bread
6 ripe tomatoes (plum, preferably)
1/2 tsp. oil from bottled chopped garlic
2 Tbl. olive oil
1/2 large (or 1 medium) red onion
1 Tbl. balsamic vinegar
4 large basil leaves, chopped.
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    At least a few hours before you plan to serve, thinly slice the baguette.

    Arrange the slices in a single layer on a serving platter, uncovered, to allow the slices to dry out.  This is important because the bread will absorb the liquid in the bruschetta mixture and fresh slices will get soggy fast.  Be sure to pull the slices with huge holes and eat them save them to make bread crumbs later because otherwise the bruschetta mixture will fall thru said holes.

    Cut the tomato into quarters.  Remove and discard the seeds.

    Finely dice the tomato quarters.  I like to thinly slice the quarters lengthwise ...

    ... then slice across.  Place in medium-size mixing bowl and set aside.

    Finely dice onion ...

    ... then add to bowl with the tomatoes, along with garlic oil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, onion and basil, salt and pepper.

    Gently mix.  Taste, and add more salt and/or pepper if needed. 

    Just before serving, spoon about a teaspoon or two on each baguette slice, depending upon the size of the slices.

    Bruschetta is best served the same day it's made because tomatoes lose their flavor under refrigeration.


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