Anyone who knows me also knows that at this time of year, you are likely to find me going gaga over tomatoes. I wait all year (yes, all year) for that perfect, New Jersey tomato. It is a thing of beauty. I love the colors, the awkward shapes, their perfect smell. In fact, I've been eating heirlooms and mozzarella every day for lunch for maybe ... well, as long as there are heirlooms scattered on the countertop, that's what I'm doing. You can expect me to be not sorry about it, too.
Still, every now and then, you have to mix it up a little, divert from the classic (but delightful) Caprese and make bruschetta. Especially if you've got some really good bread, like from this place, which my mom brought us the other weekend: nothing better. I've had a lot of bread in my life, and this. is. it.
So with a paper bag full of beautiful sun gold cherry tomatoes from Gravity Hill, a loaf of half-eaten crusty bread and a beautiful basil plant sunning on our kitchen window sill, we were fully prepared to create the perfect simple Saturday lunch.
For this recipe, you'll need:
About 11/2 to 2 cups of tomatoes, diced (or if using cherry tomatoes, cut in halves or quarters)
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon of dark balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of olive oil
A generous pinch of salt
A palmful of basil leaves, gently torn or sliced
2-4 pieces crusty bread of choice (the one we had on hand is sourdough, and while this is not traditional, it was amazing)
Depending on the type of tomatoes you choose, slice accordingly and mix together in a large bowl. Sprinkle evenly with salt and toss together. Set aside for 5-10 minutes; this will draw out some (but not all) of the natural moisture, just to keep your bread from going a little too soggy.
Once drained, add your garlic, vinegar, olive oil and black pepper. Toss to evenly coat. Meanwhile, slice your bread (about 1/2-3/4 inch thick) and toast: hint, the broiler is best! It can give a nice crunchy char around the edges, which is always nice.
After your bread is toasted, top each piece with one scoop (or two) of your tomato mixture. Top with torn pieces of basil. And just like that, you're ready to serve and bite right into summer. This is a great simple appetizer for dinner any night of the week, and still just as tasty (and easy!) to offer to guests.