You know how they say that sometimes the simplest things are the best? Well, I'm inclined to agree with them. Especially when we're talking about bruschetta. Now, I've seen every topping under the sun for these little toasts, but I just can't get over the amazing flavor of a ripe summer tomato and some fresh plucked basil leaves. And when you add in some expensive fruity Spanish olive oil, you'll find yourself licking your plate and planning the next batch.
Tomato and Basil Bruschetta
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection: Hors D'oeuvre by Brigit Binns and Noel Barnhurst
8 small, ripe tomatoes, about 1½ pounds, peeled if desired and cored
2 small or 1 large clove garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10 fresh basil leaves
24 thin baguette slices
Butter for frying
Halve the tomatoes crosswise and gently squeeze out the seeds. Use a small spoon to scoop out any stubborn remaining seeds. Cut the tomato flesh into ¼-inch dice, discarding any tough, pale flesh near the core end. In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, ¾ teaspoon sea salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and olive oil. Toss to coat evenly, adding a little more olive oil if the mixture appears dry. Taste for seasoning and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour, to allow the flavors to marry.
Stack the basil leaves in a neat pile and roll the pile into a cigar shape. Thinly slice the “cigar” crosswise. Add the basil to the tomato mixture and toss to combine.
In a medium frying pan, heat some butter until melted and foamy. Add baguette slices and fry on both sides until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Top each slice with 1 tablespoon of the tomato mixture. Serve at once.
Makes 24 slices