The only reason to make a classic tomato-based bruschetta this time of year is if you find fresh tomatoes. My supermarket had some nice grape tomatoes, so I made this for a very light dinner. Made using basil, fresh grape tomato, garlic, and an unpasteurized, French goat cheese (in lieu of mozzarella).
While most Americans know the bruschetta I made tonight, in Italy the varieties are endless. Chris Kimball has many recipes, including; Artichoke Hearts and Parmesan, Black Olive Pesto, Ricotta and Basil, Goat Cheese, Fig, and Prosciutto, Whipped Feta and Roasted Red Peppers, Red Onions, Herbs, and Parmesan, Port-Caramelized Onions, Blue Cheese, and Walnuts, Sauteed Sweet Peppers, etc.
- Beware of burnt bread! I burn at least 25% of all my batches, because I become distracted. The toast goes from under-done to inedible burned in a matter of seconds.
- Traditionally, the bread is roasted then rubbed with garlic and topped with extra-virgin olive oil. I find it easier and more flavorful to press the garlic directly into the olive oil and let the flavors infuse while I roast the bread.
- We Americans are being short-changed in our cheeses. Cheese companies use pasteurization to save a buck by selling cheeses too young and with too little flavor. The FDA only requires that raw cheese be aged which allows any bad bacteria to naturally die off after 60 days; pasteurization is unnecessary. I know we all learned in school how pasteurization has made out food supply much safer; but that is true only for milk (which of course isn’t aged). In terms of cheese, heating milk to 161-degrees not only kills most bacteria, but sadly kills off some of the milks natural flavors. Because those flavors get concentrated in cheese, the effect of pasteurization is magnified.
Rating: 4-1/2 stars.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess? Low.
Start time 5:30 PM. Dinner time 6:00 PM.
I didn’t follow Chris Kimball’s recipe. The descriptions of how I prepare it tonight are given below:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 clove garlic
1-lb ripe tomatoes
3 tablespoons shredded fresh basil leaves
Salt and ground black pepper
1-oz unpasteurized goat cheese or mozzarella, shredded
1 baguette or country bread
- Add olive oil to small cup and press garlic cloves directly into oil. Mix and set aside to allow the garlic to infuse oil.
- Core your tomatoes and cut into 1/2″ dice and add to medium bowl. Shred enough basil to almost fill a 1/4-cup, Gently stir with tomatoes and add salt and pepper to taste in. Set aside.
- Adjust oven rack so to upper-medium position and preheat broiler.
- Slice bread crosswise into 3/4″ thick pieces and put on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil until bread is golden brown; about 2 minutes. Flip and broil the second side for another 2 minutes. Keep an eye on your bread the entire time; it goes from under-done to inedible burned in a matter of seconds.
- Use a pastry brush to lightly garlic-infused oil onto 1 side of toast. Place toast on large serving platter and use a small spoon to divide the tomatoes among toast slices.
- Serve immediately or the bread will become soggy.