Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta
Seattle has finally started warming up for the summer and in perfect time for tomato season. It’s the best time to get those heirloom tomatoes and savor the amazing taste of what tomatoes are supposed to taste like. I’m tired of eating the mealy, grainy, bland tomatoes from the stores. Now that they are in season, it’s time for my favorite way to eat fresh tomatoes — bruschetta!
In the 2009 movie Julie and Julia, there is a scene where Julie’s husband scarfs down this thick and crispy yet soft toast covered with large, colorful chopped yellow and red tomatoes and it makes me drool just watching that scene. It’s an extremely simple dish with very few ingredients, but technique and quality of ingredients are key in making this simple dish sensational. Save this dish for when tomatoes are in season. Try not to use regular commercial grocery store tomatoes that are flavorless and sometimes grainy texture. If possible, it’s best to look for heirloom tomatoes or stop by Whole Foods or a farmers market for the best tasting tomatoes.
I found this recipe on The Atlantic written by the movie’s own lead food stylist, Susan Spungen. She writes the method they used for the movie (frying the bread in a skillet) and also adds her preferred method of toasting the bread (in an oven). I’ve tried both methods, the skillet method tends to have more flavor since you are frying the bread in a little oil, while the oven method is less of a hassle since you just pop the tray in the oven, but both methods are very easy and tasty.
Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta
- Rustic bread loaf (stretchy, holey interior and a crisp crust — round or not), slice about 1" thick, if round, cut those slices in half at an angle
- 3 cups Heirloom tomatoes, or other local fresh ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
- 2-5 fresh basil leaves, torn into medium-small pieces; to taste
- 2-3 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
- 1-2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- salt (good sea salt like Maldon, or Kosher salt), to taste
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- Combine the cut tomatoes, and torn basil leaves in a bowl. Toss with some olive oil. Allow to marinate for a bit at room temperature, then season with salt and pepper.Tip: Only salt about 30 mins before serving, as it will make the tomatoes release their juices, which you want, but not too much.
- To fry the bread in a skillet: Heat some olive oil in a skillet. Once hot, add the sliced bread, cut-side down. Cook until golden, then flip and cook until golden. Remove from pan and set aside.To toast bread in an oven: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place sliced bread on a baking pan and bake for about 8 minutes. Try to get the bread crunchy on the outside while still soft in the center. Remove from pan and set aside. Drizzle or brush on extra-virgin olive oil on cut-side of bread. Alternatively, you could lightly brush on the olive oil before baking for a crunchier and more flavorful layer.
- On the toasted cut-side, rub lightly or heavily with a whole garlic clove (the course toasted-side of the bread will act like a grater). Then sprinkle with good salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Top the toasts with the seasoned tomato mixture. Try not to get the juices at the bottom of the bowl or you will have soggy bread. If the bread is really crunchy, let the tomatoes sit for a few minutes before serving to soften the bread.
- Save this dish for when tomatoes are in season. Try not to use regular commercial grocery store tomatoes that are flavorless and sometimes grainy. If possible, it’s best to look for heirloom tomatoes or stop by Whole Foods or a farmers market for the best tasting tomatoes.
- The thinner you cut your bread, the more crunchy it will be. You need some thickness to be able to retain some softness in the center.
Tried this recipe?
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KLFebruary 26, 2018 at 2:36 pm
Perfect seasoning for the tomatoes and the garlicy toasted bread is divine!
TheLittleRubyAugust 27, 2018 at 11:12 am
Thank you, KL!