Bruschetta is one of those dishes: it has as many variations as cooks who make it. I’ve seen recipes with bell peppers, capers, anchovies, olives, sage & thyme, cilantro and chives. In the end, I prefer a classic combination: fresh off the vine, sun-ripened tomatoes, garlic, shallot and basil. Since there are so few ingredients it’s imperative that each of them be at the peak of quality: I like this dish best with my own garden tomatoes, harvested in the afternoon when they are warm from the sun and, once sliced and combined with the garlic, shallot and basil, allowed to sit and mellow in the bowl until dinnertime.
Plum or paste tomatoes work best for bruschetta, however, I’ve been known to toss in a firm, meaty heirloom, or a handful or two of cherry tomatoes when I have them on hand. Avoid very-juicy or beefsteak tomatoes as they will make the bruschetta far too watery. If you don’t have any bread or crostini on hand (and it’s far too hot to bake any) this would be equally good served over a dish of pasta.
Adapted from Our Basic Bruschetta in The New Basics, by J. Rosso and S. Lukins
- 1 and 1/2 lbs ripe plum tomatoes (or other meaty tomato variety), diced to 1/4-inch
- 1 small head garlic, or about 6 large cloves, minced
- 1 medium shallot, finely chopped (about 2 tbsp)
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, slivered
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
- 1 baguette or crusty country bread, for serving
- Combine tomatoes, garlic, shallot, basil and olive oil, tossing well to mix. Taste and add salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to 4 hours.
- Make crostini or simply slice and toast the bread in a 350 degree F oven for about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon to drain off excess liquid, pile bruschetta on top of a slice of toast or crostini. Enjoy!
Serves 4 – 8.
- My recipe is quite garlicky; my friend Christina always says she can feel the garlic oozing out of her pores the next day. I think it’s wonderful that way, but if you are not as much of a garlic fan, cut the amount in half.
- Olive oil does add a bit of richness and helps to meld the flavors together, especially if you do not have much time to let the dish sit. If you want to make the dish 100% local, you may omit the olive oil and make a butter-garlic crostini to pair with the tomatoes.
Room temp for about 8 hours, then refrigerated for about 1 day. This is best on the day it’s made.