Tomato Bruschetta is a summertime treat, ideal for a light lunch or a simple gathering appetiser. The combination of fresh ripened red tomatoes and aromatic basil is simply a match made in heaven.
WHAT IS TOMATO BRUSCHETTA?
Bruschetta originates in Italy and has been around for centuries. Italians pronounce it “bru-sketta”, and describe it as grilled bread that has been rubbed with garlic and topped with extra virgin olive oil and salt.
Today, toppings come in all kinds of weird and unusual varieties. Still, the classic and my absolute favourite is Bruschetta with tomatoes, or ‘Bruschetta con Pomodoro’ and this my friends, is where the inspiration for this recipe was born.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO MAKE TOMATO BRUSCHETTA?
During the summer when tomatoes are at their absolute best is the time to make this recipe. As it’s currently July in the UK, the best time is most certainly NOW!
Bruschetta is an absolute crowd-pleaser and is always welcomed when it makes an appearance as an appetiser at a summer BBQ.
But frankly, I’m not always up for sharing! You’ll often find me tucking into Bruschetta when I want a light lunch or an easy weeknight dinner. And, almost always, my face and fingers will be smothered in tomatoey, olive oily toppings. Sorry, not sorry!
Bruschetta is really simple to make with the most basic ingredients. I can never quite believe that something so simple can taste quite so good.
The most ideal bread for a tomato bruschetta has a rough open crumb and a crunchy crust. The rough surface will encourage just the right amount of juice to be extracted from the garlic, the open crumb is perfect for capturing pools of olive oil, and the crunchy crust shouldn’t disintegrate under the weight of the tomato topping.
Bruschetta should always be toasted. The best way is to use a grill pan. A hot grill adds beautiful scorch marks that infuse the bread with a hint of smoky flavour. If you don’t have a grill pan, just pop the bread in a toaster or under the grill (broiler). You are looking for a texture that is crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
As this is a real food blog where we want to avoid heavily processed ingredients, the bread I typically look for when making this recipe is a wholegrain sourdough or ciabatta.
I use a combination of mainly red vine-ripened tomatoes for their intense tomatoey flavour and a few cherry tomatoes for sweetness. Room temperature is crucial for maximum tomato flavour. The vine tomatoes are deseeded and diced to remove excess slimy seeds, and the cherry tomatoes are quartered, providing some variation in texture.
3. EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Using your favourite extra virgin olive oil for this recipe is essential. It’s added in with the tomatoes to add a rich and fruity flavour to the topping that is a major contributing factor to the overall taste sensation that is Tomato Bruschetta.
Too much garlic in this dish can overwhelm the rest of the ingredients, so I stick with Italian tradition and rub the garlic over the warm toasted bread allowing it to melt down and penetrate into the bread. I find this to be enough.
5. RED ONION
Although it’s not a traditional ingredient in tomato bruschetta, I like to add finely diced red onion for a subtle crunch, and its sweet and mild flavour works really well in this dish.
6. BASIL & BASIL PESTO
The traditional recipe for a tomato bruschetta often incorporates fresh basil. This recipe does the same. However, I am also going to double up on that basil flavour by spreading a thick layer of my Homemade Super-Green Pesto over the bread. The idea of adding pesto has been inspired by a meal I had at a restaurant on No Man’s Fort, where the chef drizzled a delicious pesto sauce over our Tomato Bruschetta starter. For more on that, check out the post Eating Real Food on No Man’s Fort.
If you have the time to make your own pesto, it’s honestly worth the effort. But, if you just don’t have the time, before skipping the idea entirely, there are some real food options available like this Biona Organic Green Pesto. It’s worth having a couple of jars on hand for when a Tomato Bruschetta craving strikes.
7. THICK BALSAMIC GLAZE
Drizzling a thick balsamic glaze over Tomato Bruschetta is the finishing touch. No, it’s not essential. But yes, it IS necessary, if you know what I mean! It’s sweet and irresistible tanginess help to ensure tomato bruschetta so god darn moreish!
HOW DO YOU MAKE TOMATO BRUSCHETTA?
Gather and prepare your ingredients.
Put the chopped tomatoes and onions in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Gently combine the ingredients and season with salt and pepper and leave to one side to macerate.
Meanwhile, slice the bread. Grill or toast until the bread is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. While it is still warm, rub garlic over the top side of bread and let it melt in.
Spread Homemade Super-Green Pesto (or alternative) over the slices of bread. Then pile on the tomatoes as well as a generous helping of freshly torn basil.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
I’d love to know how your Tomato Bruschetta turns out. Please get in touch in the comments and let me know. I hope it becomes a summer go-to recipe for you too!
And, if you’ve got some leftover tomatoes and basil, why not try my Homemade Tomato Soup with Basil. Another light lunch where the tomato and basil are the superstars.
FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE INSTRUCTIONS
- Bread Knife & Sharp Knife
- Chopping Board
- Grill Pan or Toaster
- 600 g (1.5 lbs) Tomatoes On the vine and cherry varieties. Deseed and dice the vine tomatoes and slice the cherry tomatoes into quarters.
- ½ Red Onion Chopped into a small dice
- 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil*
- ½ tsp Sea Salt
- ¼ tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 12 Slices Wholegrain Rustic Loaf Sourdough or Ciabatta works well. Slice into 12, 1cm thick slices. If using a thin french loaf, you'll get 24 toasts.
- 1 Clove Garlic
- 12 Fresh Basil Leaves Washed and roughly torn or sliced into ribbons
Optional (But Recommended) Toppings**
- 6-8 tbsp Homemade Super-Green Pesto Or alternative green pesto
- 2 tbsp Thick Balsamic Vinegar
- Prepare your ingredients and get your equipment ready.
- In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, onions, olive oil, salt and pepper. Put to one side and prepare the toasts.
- Grill the bread slices with a grill pan, or place in a toaster. You're looking for a crisp exterior and soft interior. On a hot grill pan, it will take about 3-4 minutes on each side – you are looking for those smoky grill marks. While the bread is still warm rub a clove of garlic over the surface of the bread. It will melt into it nicely.
- Spread each piece of toast with the pesto (if using) and then pile on the tomato mixture. To serve, arrange the bruschetta on a plate or platter, scatter with torn pieces basil, drizzle with balsamic vinegar (if using). Serve immediately***.
If you get the chance to give this Tomato Bruschetta a try, drop me a note in the comment section and provide a star rating. I’d love to know what you think!
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Thank you so much for reading.