Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5-10 minutes
I love the traditional Italian appetiser bruschetta (pronounced “broo-sketta”), and I quite often have it for breakfast/brunch. It is usually eaten as a starter to a meal, or can also be served as a party snack. It’s not only very tasty, but also tomatoes are very health-promoting, especially when they are cooked under the grill (this is an optional step in the recipe).
This flavoursome tomato-topped toast is usually made with plum tomatoes, which tend to have fewer seeds and more juice than others, but then, in conventional recipes, you have to take the extra step of peeling and blanching them and removing the seeds. Not only can I not usually be bothered to do this, but I also think it is a waste of quite a lot of the goodness from the tomatoes! So I use cherry tomatoes, which you can just cut into quarters. I also most often use ciabatta bread for this, which is my particular favourite.
Makes around 12 small-ish pieces, serves 6-10 (as appetiser, starter or snack)
12-14 ripe cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced (around 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon of salt (any kind, but I like to use pink salt for its delicacy of flavour)
Generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
6-8 leaves of fresh basil, roughly chopped or torn
1 Italian ciabatta loaf or French stick, or other bread
60 ml (quarter of a cup) of olive oil
1) Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
2) Chop the tomatoes into quarters and toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, basil and salt and pepper. Tomatoes seem to be especially fond of salt, so you might need to add more of it than you think.
2) Toast the bread. Slice the bread diagonally, to make half-inch thick slices. Brush one side of each slice with olive oil (I find a pastry brush is very useful here) and place them oiled side down on a baking sheet.
3) When the oven has reached the required temperature, place the bread slices in the oven on the top shelf and toast them for 5-6 minutes until just browned around the edges.
4) Arrange the toast slices on a plate with the olive-oil side upwards (the oil helps to stop the bread getting soggy from the chopped tomato mixture). Then spoon the tomato mixture over the top of each slice, until evenly covered.
5) You can leave it cool, or place the slices under a hot grill for a minute or two to heat the topping (which is the way I like it). Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh basil and serve immediately (don’t wait to serve and eat, or the slices will not be crisp and crunchy, as you want them!)
Picture courtesy of www.istockphoto.com