CH and I were very fortunate to travel throughout Europe in 2009. We hit 9 countries in 9 weeks and it was amazing. We rented a car and drove through all the little country towns, trying to get as an authentic experience in Europe as possible. We ate some of the best food of our lives and for that I am eternally grateful.
We rented a small farmhouse in Tuscany for a week as it gave us the opportunity to experience country-life and to explore all of the small hill-towns nearby. The owner of the farm gave us the contacts of this winery, Castello di Verrazzano, and it was truly one of the highlights of my life (besides you know…my wedding day!) We had a one-on-one tour of the winery/property and then sat down and enjoyed a 3 hour traditional meal, with wine, that was beyond description and beyond hyberbole. It was rustic, wholesome, and no adjective can get close to how delicious it was.
The first dish we enjoyed is what inspired this recipe. Simple, authentic, fresh bruschetta. This isn’t the North American version you can get in a restaurant that includes basil, onion or mozzarella – which I enjoy regularly – but this recipe brings me right back to being in Italy with CH, at the winery, living the good life.
For all of the delicious flavours in this dish, it is one of the easiest recipes I will post. It’s truly about the quality of the ingredients – a fresh baguette (or bread) perfectly toasted, sharp garlic, vine-ripened tomatoes and the best quality olive oil you have. The way they come together is how this dish truly shines.
We are very fortunate in Ontario to have some amazing hot-house tomatoes. Although not as good as fresh garden tomatoes, they still taste amazing. And as the summer tomato season hits us, bruschetta will be on our table more and more. I hope you give it a try, sit back on your patio and enjoy the simple things in life – good food, good wine and good company.
Yield: Appetizer for 3-4 people
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes (toasting)
- 1 fresh baguette (whatever type you enjoy the most)
- 3 large perfectly ripe tomatoes
- 3 garlic cloves
- dash of salt
- plenty of your best extra-virgin olive oil
Pre-heat your broiler to high setting. Allow it to warm-up.
Slice your baguette into thin slices (about 1/2 inch in thickness).
Place baguette slices on a baking sheet and place under the broiler. Allow bread to toast until slightly golden brown (do not over-brown – you want it crisp but still chewy). Flip and toast on other side.
While the bread is toasting, peel and slice the garlic. Take one clove of garlic and slide it in half lengthwise. Set aside.
Wash and slices your tomatoes – about 1/4 inch thick.
Remove the toasted bread from the oven and immediately rub warm bread with garlic halves. I usually do 4-5 slices of bread per garlic half.
Top each piece of bread with tomato slices, sprinkle with salt and drizzle (generously!) with olive oil.
Take your plate outside, grab a glass of Italian Pinot Grigio (or whatever you like best) and enjoy!
An Original JBean Creation (inspired by Italy/Castello di Verrazzano)