Monday, June 11, 2012

Simply Delicious Bruschetta

I first made this recipe a few months ago and it has since become our go-to snack to make whenever we have people over for game night or just to visit.  It is easy, fresh and super tasty.  Plus, everyone (including Joe who claims to not like tomatoes) seems to like it.  I first had bruschetta several years ago at an Italian restaurant and I always remembered really liking it, but it wasn't one of those things that I would typically order.  When we went to Italy on our honeymoon last year, we learned that bruschetta is literally just the toasted bread brushed with olive oil, and doesn't include any sort of topping.  That was a little bit of a surprise to us. :)  In America most people associate the term "bruschetta" with the tomato topping that is so common.  This topping typically consists of tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and basil.  The recipe I use also includes garlic, but I'm not sure if that is a standard ingredient or not.  All I know is that it is delicious.

This original recipe came from The Pioneer Woman, and she not only makes the tomato topping, but also grills the bread slices in a little butter.  I did the same with the bread the first time I made this and it really did make it extra yummy.  However, it is also awesome spooned on top of crackers right out of the box.  I would definitely recommend using the grape tomatoes like she mentions since they seem to not be quite as juicy.  I've tried using roma tomatoes and even a large slicing tomato, but they just left too much juice at the bottom of the bowl.

The other thing you'll definitely need for this is fresh basil.  When I first made this, I decided to buy a little live basil plant that was being sold in the produce section right by the boxed "fresh" herbs.  I planted it shortly after buying it and now I have a thriving basil plant that I've used for all kinds of recipes!  Lately I've been been trying to think of recipes specifically to use the basil since I have so much off it!  Anyway, here's the recipe:

(Source: The Pioneer Woman)
2 T. olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 pints of grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 T. balsamic vinegar
16 whole basil leaves, sliced (see the pictures below for an easy way to slice them all at once)

- Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat and add the garlic cloves.  Saute until the garlic just starts to turn light brown.  Once it starts to brown, it goes really quick so watch close!  It should take a couple minutes.  Place garlic in a bowl and let cool while you prepare the other parts.
- Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and basil to the bowl.  Stir to combine and taste to see if it needs some salt and pepper.  It probably will, so add a little till you think it's good :)

The garlic starting to cook.

Toasty brown garlic.

If you use grape tomatoes, you really only have to cut them in half.

To slice all the basil at once, start by stacking them on top of each other.

Then roll them up.

Then start slicing.  You can kind of see how they're all rolled here.

All chopped up.

Tomatoes on top of garlic.

Vinegar on top of tomatoes.

Add the basil.

Salt and pepper and you're all done!

If you're interested in making the buttered and grilled toast pieces (which I highly suggest) then check out the Pioneer Woman's site.  Just click on her name at the top of this post.

Have a great week!

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