Fresh Tomato Bruschetta

Tomato Bruschetta Tomato Snob

I love tomatoes, but this love is not unconditional. In my mind, there is nothing worse than a watery, bland tomato. As a card-carrying food snob, I require full tomato flavor—which means that for most of the year, I don’t eat tomatoes. Frankly, an out-of-season tomato doesn’t taste as good.

Now that it’s July, things are lookin’ up.

In an effort to capitalize on the very best tomatoes possible, I planted some in my garden. However, I planted them late, so I’m not sure how well they’ll do. The fruit on the vine is taunting me, but they are not quite ready. So, I continue to wait. Meanwhile, the heirloom tomatoes in the market are fantastic, and I am able to get my fix while I wait for my plants to start producing.

Because home-grown, summertime tomatoes have so much flavor on their own, I like to serve them simply sliced up with a little vinaigrette, or on a toasted slice of French bread–bruschetta style. Throw on some fresh mozzarella and you have a tasty light lunch. I have been known to add goat cheese (or Bellwhether Farms Frommage Blanc for people with a goat cheese aversion).

Fresh Tomato Bruschetta
I use this as my base recipe, and improvise.

8 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 tbsp finely minced garlic
1/2 cup chiffonade fresh basil (cut into slender ribbons)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp finely minced fresh tarragon
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 baguettes, cut in 1/2-inch-thick slices
6 cloves garlic, cut in half

Mix the first eight ingredients (except the bread and garlic cloves) in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside, unrefrigerated, 3 hours so the flavors have time to blend.

Heat oven to 350°F. Toast the baguette slices on a baking sheet. Rub cut side of garlic on each slice, and top with tomato mixture.

Use heirloom tomatoes with different color themes.

Add diced cheese into the tomato mixture just before toasting the bread: Fresh mozzarella, chèvre, Frommage Blanc. or be creative.

Add 1 cup cooked canellini beans.

Substitute balsamic vinegar for lemon juice.

Add roasted red peppers, capers and chopped olives.

Switch out the baguette for focaccia or olive bread. You can even make a gluten-free variation.

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