Growing up I never liked tomatoes. I always liked things made with tomatoes, like spaghetti sauce and ketchup, but a raw tomato could never cross my plate. As I got older my tastes evolved a bit. I starting liking sun dried tomatoes, fried green tomatoes and roasted tomatoes. I am still adverse to a raw tomato with the exception of heirloom tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes are tomatoes that have come from a generation of tomatoes that are at least 50 years old. They generally have a unique shape, color and flavor than a traditional garden tomato. I love buying them at local farmers markets and bring them home, slicing them (not too thick), adding a spritz of good olive oil, a splash of balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of fluer de sel. Sometimes I like to layer them with fresh mozzarella or burrata and basil.
Last weekend I got to head to the farmers market in the city. I don’t get down there that often, but I love it. It’s got a great vibe and a nice selection of vendors. On our recent trip, we of course got our obligatory cup of Zekes, pickles, fresh herbs, granola, some baked goods and mini heirloom tomatoes.
Bruschetta is one of my favorites. It’s just a few ingredients but really good ingredients make a difference. The tomatoes, a crusty french baguette, fresh basil and some pantry ingredients contribute to a killer dish.
Get your oven preheated while you prep the tomatoes.
I cut the mini heirlooms in half, but the bigger ones I sliced in 3-4 pieces.
Add the tomatoes to a bowl with chopped garlic and add some good olive oil and white balsamic vinegar. Most bruschetta recipes use traditional red balsamic vinegar, but i like the white. It keeps the tomato mixture bright and not muddy looking. Season to taste with some coarse salt and pepper.
Grab some fresh basil leaves and chiffonade them. Fancy term, but basically stack the leaves and roll it up in a roll and cut thin slices and you end up with ribbons of basil. Pretty!
After you add the basil, let the tomato mixture mingle for a while. An hour is good. Two hours is better if you have the time.
Cut your baguette on a bias so you have good surface area to load up the tomatoes. I spritz the bread slices with a little olive oil and pop in the hot oven to lightly brown. It takes about 10 minutes or so. When the bread is done, rub the slices with some raw garlic. This will add a huge flavor punch.
Finally, top the bread slices with the tomato mixture. So fresh and so good! It’s tomato season, go make some bruschetta!
Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta
- 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tlb of olive oil
- 1 pint mini heirloom tomatoes, halved lengthwise or cut more if larger
- 1 whole small baguette or crusty loaf
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
- 16 whole fresh basil leaves, plus more as needed, chiffonade
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2-3 whole garlic cloves, peeled.
Preheat the oven to 450
Add the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar to a bowl. Toss and add salt and pepper to taste.Add the basil and toss again and set aside for an hour or two.
Cut the baguette into diagonal slices to allow for the most surface area possible. Lightly spritz with olive oil. (Real olive oil please, don’t use the chemicals in the spray can). Put the bread slices on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes until lightly brown. Remove and immediately rub the raw garlic cloves on the surface of the bread.
To serve, give the tomato mixture a final stir, and then spoon generously over the slices of bread. Serve on a big platter as a first course or appetizer.