Bruschetta a La Tuscany
While visiting Florence, Italy, my husband and I became enthralled with the region’s delicious bruschetta. It could be found in every eatery. After returning home, I looked for a recipe that duplicated the Italian bruschetta we had eaten. My search found nothing resembling our new-found favorite tomato dish.
At the point of giving up, luck stepped in. A friend’s daughter married a young Italian who was a chef. I asked for his help in creating bruschetta. This recipe is a combination of both of our efforts. Brushing each bread slice with olive oil, rubbing it with a half-slice of garlic, and baking the bread in a slow oven makes all of the difference. This is particularly delicious with garden-fresh tomatoes in August and September. We eat this bruschetta for lunch or dinner, as well as use for an appetizer. Begin the olive oil and tomato mixtures several hours prior to the planned serving of this appetizer.
1 cup olive oil (preferably a very good quality olive oil from Italy)
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 1/2 – 2 cups fresh Roma tomatoes, chopped into small pieces and drained
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped sea salt to taste
1 loaf Italian country-style bread (or similar bread), cut into thick slices
1/3 cup olive oil for spreading on bread
1 garlic clove, halved
fresh basil leaves
Gently stir the minced and pressed garlic into a cup of olive oil. Allow the mixture to stand for at least an hour. Place the chopped tomatoes and chopped basil in a bowl. Add the garlic-olive oil mixture to the tomato/basil mixture. Salt the mixture to taste. Then blend well. Let the mixture stand at least 2 hours at room temperature.
After the tomato mixture has stood at least 2 hours, place the bread slices onto a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Brush olive oil on the top of each bread slice. Then rub each bread slice with the halved garlic clove. Turn each bread slice over and repeat the process of adding the oil and rubbing the garlic clove to the second side. Bake bread for 20 minutes in a 325-degree oven.
While the bread is baking, drain the tomato mixture. After removing the bread from the oven, place the slices on a serving dish, tray or plate. Mound a portion of the tomato mixture on top of each toasted bread slice. Spread around the bread. Top each slice with a few sprinkles of sea salt and a basil leaf. Then enjoy.