My garden is growing well. It’s not all pretty or terribly organized or free of weeds, but it is growing. Lacinato kale, basil, and green beans have been reliable producers (and have been oh so delicious this year). I have an out-of-control spaghetti squash plant that has affixed itself to my air conditioning unit. There are the beginnings of several watermelon (which seem really late to me). And, finally, my tomato plants. Well, they are out of control. The tomato bed looks like an untamed jungle. There are plenty of green tomatoes waiting to ripen and once they do (likely all at the same time), I will be inundated with these delicious gems.
This is a problem that I am happy to tackle. I simply love garden fresh tomatoes. I prefer to grow unique, heirloom varieties like Cherokee Purple, Tigerella, or Yellow Brandywine. They each have a unique flavor, and when combined, they come together to create extraordinary meals.
One such dish that my family enjoys time and time again is bruschetta. Bruschetta is an incredibly easy dish to make whose goodness relies almost entirely on the quality of the tomatoes that are used. Bland and flavorless tomatoes will yield bland and flavorless bruschetta. This is why you will never see me making bruschetta when tomatoes are out of season.
But, tomatoes are in season, and I’ve made several batches of bruschetta already, and there’s more to come. This is an extremely versatile dish. It is divine on its own atop of crostini. It pairs perfectly with grilled chicken and shrimp. It is all that a simple bowl of pasta needs to be delectable. And finally, it is a scrumptious topping for pizza or grilled flatbread.
Here are a few key things to remember:
- Select a variety of tomatoes. This will create a more complex flavor (which is great) and the contrast of colors will create a dish that no only tastes great but looks beautiful!
- Always, always, always remove and discard the liquid/seeds from the tomatoes. This is easy to do. Simply cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the insides with a spoon or your fingers. Skipping this step will completely ruin the bruschetta. You will be left with a watery bowl of flavorless tomatoes. No good.
- Never refrigerate your bruschetta. Tomatoes simply do not do well in the refrigerator. Make enough bruschetta for the day and finish it.
- Allow 2-3 hours for your bruschetta to sit before serving. This step is critical. Time allows for all of the flavors to marry. You will be thankful that you waited.
- Season to taste. While the recipe below is a great jumping off point, you may need to add a bit more salt or vinegar to compensate for less than flavorful tomatoes.
- Do not use dried herbs. Fresh basil is a must.
That’s it. I hope that you will give this classic a try.
6 cups diced tomatoes (remove liquid and seeds)
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt (or garlic salt is very good too)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Simply place all of the ingredients into a bowl (preferably non-metallic). Gently stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Loosely cover the bowl and allow it to sit out at room temperature for 2-3 hours prior to serving. Before serving, stir the bruschetta.