For as long as I can remember, I have always loved tomatoes and garlic, but especially tomatoes. I devoured tomato sauce, tomato soup, tomato juice…you name it, I ate it!
My love of tomatoes has not been lost with time. It doesn’t matter where you stand on the whole “a tomato is a fruit/vegetable” debate (while I know that they’re technically fruit, I will always consider a tomato to be a vegetable), I would classify tomatoes as both my favorite fruit AND vegetable.
For this reason, nothing makes my tastebuds more excited than some good bruschetta (broo-sket-tuh). It is the perfect, timeless combination of pomodori (tomatoes), aglio (garlic), basilico (basil), and olio d’oliva (olive oil) all stacked on top of crunchy, buttery pane (bread)!
While bruschetta is typically thought of as a warmer-weather food, I think it tastes just as good in the winter! This nice weather we’ve been getting in D.C. doesn’t hurt either…
I started by mincing 5 cloves of fresh garlic.
I then added the minced garlic to a warm pan on very low heat with about 4 tablespoons of olive oil. I tried the Il Molino olive oil that I picked up at Via Umbria and wrote about last week. The olive oil was delicious and added the best flavor to the dish!
I wasn’t looking to necessarily brown the garlic. I just wanted to let it all simmer for a few minutes before adding the garlic and oil in with the tomatoes. I wanted the olive oil to absorb some of the garlic’s flavor, but without losing all of the bite you get from raw garlic.
While the olive oil and garlic mingled in the pan, I started to chop up a carton of Sungold tomatoes.
Sungold tomatoes are similar in appearance to cherry tomatoes, but tend to be even sweeter in flavor and have a distinct orange color. Serious Eats called Sungolds “the closest thing to nature’s candy that you can possibly imagine.” I agree!
I then switched to preparing my second type of tomatoes: Campari tomatoes. Campari tomatoes are kind-of like a larger version of cherry tomatoes. They are sweet (not as sweet as the Sungolds) and lower in acidity that larger tomatoes, such as beefsteak tomatoes. When tomatoes are the star of any dish, Campari tomatoes are a necessity.
While it’s certainly not vital to use two different types of tomatoes in bruschetta, I think it is what helps take your bruschetta to the next level. It adds color to the dish, as well as an extra dimension of flavor.
I added the Campari tomatoes to a bowl with the Sungolds and got to work on chopping a few fresh basil leaves.
I removed the garlic and oil from the pan and added it to a bowl with the tomatoes and basil.
This is always the best part! I mixed it all together and then placed it in the refrigerator to chill and to let the flavors blend together a bit more.
While the tomato mixture was in the fridge, I started to chop a baguette into diagonal slices. I heated some butter in the same pan that I had used to sautée the olive oil and garlic and then added the baguette slices face-down. I flipped each slice to allow both sides of the bread to brown well. I chose to use butter for this part rather than olive oil because I find that butter typically browns better than olive oil, especially with bread.
After both sides of the bread browned, I removed the bread from the pan and set it aside.
I removed the tomato mixture from the fridge and proceeded to drizzle a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar to the bowl and added a few tablespoons of parmesan cheese.
I then got ready for the final step: assembly!!
I just took little spoonfuls of the tomato mixture and piled it on top of the toasted bread.
Don’t be afraid of putting too much on! It may get a little messy when you’re trying to eat it but I try to savor every last bite of the delicious tomato mixture that goes on top!
I love cooking Italian food because many of their staple dishes are very simple. You don’t need to follow a specific recipe or know how to do anything really fancy in the kitchen to cook something that tastes absolutely delicious. While this recipe uses just a few simple ingredients, it has tremendous flavor. If you are someone who isn’t really a fan of tomatoes, this could be the dish that converts you!