Let’s say it together, correctly: Brew-sket-tah. Not brew-shet-tah.
Cleansing breath. Minor pet peeve done.
Several years ago after an exhausting day of doing music at church I was driving home and wanting something substantial, but not heavy. I knew I was going to be eating Enguerra family dinner later that evening. And when the Enguerra family eats, we EAT. However, the feasting was still hours away and I needed something to tide me over until then.
The sun was out, the weather was warm, and the idea of tomatoes and mozzarella popped into my mind. What follows is the conversation between my stomach and my brain:
Stomach: “FEED ME. Pizza.”
Brain: “Nope, try again. Here’s some additional ideas: tomatoes, mozzarella, basil.”
Stomach: “Margherita pizza.”
Brain: “Yeah, but no. The following are also allowed: bread, garlic.”
After a quick detour to the grocery, I had the produce and the bread I needed to make bruschetta at home. It takes a few minutes to prepare, and both your brain and your stomach can be happy at the same time. My bruschetta has all the standard ingredients: tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, garlic, crusty bread. I like to also add balsamic vinegar as it seems to bring out the sweetness of the tomatoes, adds a little bit of tanginess, and balances out the sharpness of the garlic. And while we’re on the subject of garlic, there is such a thing as too much garlic, especially for this kind of application. I have made this bruschetta before and been too heavy-handed with the amount of garlic and it threw the entire balance of the dish way off, not to mention my breath. Everlasting garlic taste for the rest of the day, and well into tomorrow. Not fun times. Don’t let this happen to you.
- 1 baguette, regular or sourdough, cut on the bias (diagonally)
- 1-2 small cloves of garlic, finely minced (you have been warned)
- 5-6 roma tomatoes, diced
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 container of fresh mozzarella (large balls or pre-sliced)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the baguette slices on a baking pan and toast in the oven for 3-5 minutes or until lightly crunchy.
- In a medium size bowl, combine the diced roma tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, garlic and balsamic vinegar. Mix together and adjust seasoning as desired. If you have extra time, let this mixture sit for about 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
- Place a slice of mozzarella (about ¼-inch thick) on each of the bread slices, then top with a spoonful of the tomato mixture.
- Finish with a light dusting of kosher salt, black pepper and grated/shaved parmesan, if desired.