Ah bruschetta, one of the best ways to channel some summer vibes in the freezing cold of winter. Pronounced "brusketta,” this classic Italian appetizer is a perfect way to indulge in the juiciness of ripened tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, and olive oil. Remember, the brighter and juicier your tomatoes are, the better your bruschetta will be. Since you’re making this recipe when tomatoes are not in season, we recommend using the cherry or grape variety, especially if you cannot find a tomato that’s worthy of being the star of the show! With that being said, check out the ingredients needed and directions below:
• 6 or 7 ripe tomatoes
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus ¼ cup
• 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
• 6-8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
• 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, more or less to taste
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more or less to taste
• 1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread
1. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. As the water is heating make shallow cuts in a cross pattern at the tip ends of the tomatoes. Once the water is boiling, remove the pot from the heat. Put the tomatoes in the hot water and blanch for 1 minute.
2. Remove tomatoes with a slotted spoon and let sit until cool enough to handle. Then gently peel off the tomato skins. Cut out the stem base with a paring knife. Cut the tomatoes into halves or quarters and squeeze out most of the juices and seeds.
3. Preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the top slot of the oven.
4. Finely chop the tomatoes and place them in a medium bowl. Mix in the minced garlic, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, and the balsamic vinegar. Stir in the thinly sliced basil and add salt and freshly ground black pepper, adding more to taste.
5. Use a bread knife to slice the baguette on the diagonal making half-inch thick slices. Brush one side of each slice with extra virgin olive oil, and place olive oil side down on a baking sheet or roasting pan. Place the slices in the oven on the top rack and toast for 5 to 6 minutes until lightly browned around the edges.
6. Arrange the toasted bread on a platter, olive oil side facing up. Use a spoon to gently top each toasted bread slice with some of the tomato mixtures. If you top each slice individually, do it right before serving.
Coming up with new meal ideas can be a challenge. Luckily, Oxford at the Ranch Apartments in Waller, Texas makes it simple by presenting deliciously realistic options, such as this one!