Bruschetta – a ‘Recipe from the Road’ Favorite

Fresh Tomato Bruschetta is one of my all-time favorite recipes – especially in the summer heat.  It’s incredibly simple and quick to make, but it overdelivers on flavor with every bright, refreshing bite.  And if you’re in the mood to share at your local campsite this weekend, few hors d’oeuvres will make you faster friends.  The only cooking required is a quick sear of sliced baguette in some salted olive oil.  The rest is simple dicing and slicing.

I have always felt my bruschetta knew few rivals…until I stepped into Tony’s Pizza in Ponte Vedra on a quick trip down the historic coast in our Regency RV.  Tony’s greets every customer with a fresh raft of bruschetta.  I tried it and the juicy, perfectly balanced bite exploded across my palate.  I was in heaven.  I got to talking to the enchanting Sicilian owner and he revealed that his secret was a small drop of honey to the mixture. “It balances the acidity in the tomatoes and elevates the flavor,” he explained.  I tried it at home, and sure enough, he was right.  My tried and true Bruschetta was recipe was even better with this small, easy tweak.  So, while I still believe the key to a great Bruschetta are good tomatoes and a quality baguette, a drop of honey catapults this simple recipe into the realm of pure magic.

Recipe:

  • 3 heirloom tomatoes, cored and diced
  • 1 baguette, sliced and sear in salted olive oil
  • ½ Tb extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ t red wine vinegar
  • 1 drop of honey
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated or finely minced
  • 20 basil leaves, thinly cut
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Start off by coring and dicing your tomatoes; I prefer heirlooms and a mix of colors really makes for a beautiful presentation, but plain red are lovely as well.  Place them all in a bowl then prep the remaining ingredients in a mixing cup.  I personally like to use a garlic grater to puree my garlic as it retains the juices and lends a wonderful texture, but mincing the garlic cloves works too.  Slice the basil leaves then keep a pinch to the side to garnish on top.  Mix the garlic, basil, vinegar, olive oil and honey together then salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture over the tomatoes and stir gently.

Garlic Grater

While the tomato mixture is marinating, cut the baguette into 1/2-inch slices.  Heat some olive oil and sea salt in a skillet then brown each side of the baguette slices until golden.  Arrange them on a tray then dish the tomato mixture on the bread with a slotted spoon, which allows the juices to drain away.  Top your bruschetta with the remaining basil garnish and voila!

For a wine pairing, I don’t think you can go wrong with a bright, refreshing rosé from Provence.

Cheers and Bon Appétit!