Since I returned from La-La-Vacationland a little over a week ago I’ve spent most of my time indulging in a few of my favorite summer flavors before they are gone, gone, gone until next year. I’m eating peaches everyday. Three times a day. I’m putting blueberries in all the baked goods. BLT’s have become a staple. Tomatoes and basil have made their way into every evening meal.
These fresh flavors are so far the only high points to be found in these few weeks between beach vacation and back-to-school. We are stuck in the North Carolina August summer limbo; the afternoon storms have all but ceased, the sticky heat seems relentlessly hotter. Backpacks, notepads, and No.2 pencils are just around the bend, but the weeks ahead have thus far dulled the excitement of a new year and old friends.
At the same time I miss salt water on my skin and sand between my toes.
It’s a confusing time.
One thing that is never ever confusing though? BRUSCHETTA.
Fresh Tomato Basil Bruschetta.
Tomato bruschetta is the very first thing that came to mind when my neighbor gifted me a 5-gallon bucket full of fresh garden tomatoes. It didn’t hurt that I needed an excuse to use up some of the basil from my basil
bush plant that is all but shading the green beans at the back of my garden. Amazon basil. Forreal.
So instead of dwelling on the fact that my tank tops are feeling tired and my hair is feeling frizzy (not the good beach kind of frizzy but the why-have-those-curls-escaped-my-elastic-and-proceeded-to-stick-straight-out-just-above-my-ears kind of frizzy… NOT CUTE), or wondering how early is too early to start decorating for Halloween, I have busied myself with dicing absurd amounts of tomatoes. And chopping basil by the pound.
And then I remembered why I’m glad it’s still summer.
- 3-4 large fresh tomatoes, diced (approximately 4 -5 cups)
- 4 cloves garlic, very finely minced
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- BASIL, chopped (fresh basil added to taste… I like a ridiculous amount of basil, so when it looks like I have enough, I add more)
- 2-3 tablespoons finely minced onions
- 1 loaf baguette or other crusty bread, sliced on a bias to create more surface area for the topping
- 2-3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- kosher salt to taste
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Pre-heat the oven to 450.
- Heat the olive oil in a small skillet and add the garlic. Cook the garlic until it’s a nice toasty golden brown color, about a minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Place your tomatoes in a medium bowl. Add the garlic and oil, the basil, and the onion. Toss everything together until it’s evenly coated and set aside.
- On a rimmed baking sheet line up the sliced baguette. Butter each piece. Spoon the tomato mixture onto each buttered slice. I like big heaps of tomatoes. Sprinkle with a dab of kosher salt and then spread the cheese evenly across the tops of each slice.
- Bake for only 5 or 6 minutes; the edges of the bread will begin to brown and the cheese will get all toasty and golden.