I’m not going to lie to you–I’m not cooking a whole lot these days. Throughout the summer we eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, doing very little to even try to flavor them because, quite honestly, they just don’t need it.
So for this week’s What’s Cooking Wednesday, I’m offering you something fast, easy, and delicious: Bruschetta al Pomodoro, or Bruschetta with Tomatoes–grilled bread topped with a summery mix of fresh tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt, and olive oil.
But before we get to the recipe, a little more on bruschetta:
First of all, we should start with something very basic: it’s pronounced “brew-SKET-tah” and not as many in America have heard, “brew-SHET-tah.” If you want to impress Italians, this is a good one to stick in your back pocket.
The origins of bruschetta are said to date back to the 15th century in central Italy (Rome and Tuscany fight over this) when olive oil makers brought bread to the mills and toasted it over a small fire used to keep warm during the November and December production. Then they poured freshly made olive oil over the bread to test it, perhaps rubbing in some garlic first, and early bruschetta was born.
Indeed, the term bruschetta actually refers to the bread and olive oil combination–the tomatoes were an (ingenious) afterthought, and it’s how most of us know this toasted bread combo today.
As you might imagine, the quality of olive oil greatly affects the quality of the bruschetta, so try to get the best you can for this recipe.
The bread though? This is perfect for using up that great loaf that went stale (and indeed, this is probably what made it so popular in Italy before it spread to the rest of the world).
Bruschetta al Pomodoro
(Bruschetta with Tomatoes)
*makes 6 pieces
6 thick slices Italian or French style bread
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large, ripe tomatoes (or more if smaller), diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
4 large basil leaves, chopped
sprinkling of oregano and salt
Prepare the tomato mixture first to give the flavors time to blend.
A note on preparing the tomatoes, especially if they are rather juicy, you might want to give them a squeeze before dicing to get rid of excess juice; otherwise the mixture gets a little runny and messy once you try to put it on the bread. Some also recommend cleaning out all the seeds, which you can do as well, but I don’t. And if you don’t like skins, parboil the tomatoes for a minute in boiling water just removed from the burner and then peel with a sharp knife.
In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, olive oil, basil, oregano, and salt to taste. (You can use either oregano or basil as well–both are not necessary.)
Grill or toast bread. I do mine with a grill pan on the stove, but you can use a broiler, the oven, a toaster, whatever works for you.
When the bread is toasted and still hot, rub well with the “raw” side of the garlic cloves.
Spoon the tomato mixture on top, and serve hot.
- I’ve seen some recipes that call for the garlic chopped up and in the mixture with tomatoes, which is another option, but for me, it’s too strong of a garlic flavor; I, obviously, do as described above.
- Feel free to play with this recipe adding whatever you like to the mixture–black olives, capers, cheese, other grilled vegetables. It’s very versatile and great for a summer (or anytime) party.
[tags]bruschetta, bruschetta al pomodoro, bruschetta with tomatoes, tomatoes, appetizers, recipes, what’s cooking wednesday[/tags]
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