A quick post today, for a very simple recipe. Tomatoes on toast. Yes, really. But believe me, this is much more delicious than I am making it sound. I have even fed it to people who don’t like tomatoes, and they’ve asked me for more. Tomato bruschetta might not be an original idea but, when they’re done right, sometimes you just can’t beat the classics.
The choice of bread is crucial here. You may be tempted to go for a sourdough or a baguette, but I’d advise against anything too crusty. You don’t want to have to be pulling and tearing to get a mouthful, and end up with a heap of tomato bruschetta in your lap. Instead you want a pillowy, yielding bread, ideally fried gloriously golden to give it a perfect crispy exterior and a soft, warm interior. Something simple. If I’ve got the time, I do make my own bread for this, but a decent sandwich bread will do you fine. Buy it whole and slice it generously.
This recipe is all about using simple ingredients that work well together, and letting them do the heavy lifting for you. My kind of cooking.
This is my version of something we used to make at the cookery school, and since it’s Italian, I am assuming it came from the lovely Amelia Earl. She’s setting up a beautiful cookery school and bed and breakfast in Yorkshire, which you should definitely check out if you’re at all into food, gorgeous scenery, or nice people.
Don’t worry too much about weights and measures here. This tomato bruschetta will work perfectly well even if you’re not too precious about quantities. Just taste as you go along to make sure you’re happy.
If you have leftover tomato mixture after making this recipe, then you can pop it in the fridge and keep it for a couple of weeks, using as needed. It’s great on pizza or pasta too.
Around 1.5kg of fresh tomatoes, of any shape or size
A bunch of fresh basil leaves
Plenty of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Balsamic vinegar (the good stuff, not balsamic glaze or dressing)
3 fat cloves of garlic, 2 crushed and 1 whole
A knob of butter
A loaf of the bread of your choice (see above for details)
A ball of mozzarella
- Chop your tomatoes any old how (large chunks are fine) and put them in your largest saucepan. Add a handful of picked fresh basil leaves, reserving some for later, a generous glug of olive oil, plenty of salt and pepper, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and two of the garlic cloves (crushed). Mix everything together and leave it to sit for half an hour (or longer, if you prefer).
- Put your tomato mixture on a medium heat on the hob, and boil until reduced. Stir it occasionally to stop it catching on the bottom of the pan. How long this takes depends on how rich you’d like your tomato topping, how big your pan is, how high your heat is, and how many tomatoes you have. Personally, I cook mine for about an hour until I have a thick, rich, fragrant tomato base that is like the consistency of a tomato jam.
- Slice your bread into handy bitesize pieces. Heat a good glug of olive oil and a knob of butter in a large frying pan until foaming, then fry your bread, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden. Try not to let the butter burn. When the bread is fried, drain it on kitchen paper, then cut your remaining clove of garlic in half and rub both sides of the bread with the cut side of your garlic.
- Top each piece of bread with a generous dollop of the tomato mix, then finish with a torn piece of mozzarella and a basil leaf.