Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tomatoes Round the World

I'd like to extol the virtues of tomatoes for a second. Think about it--tomatoes are used in so many different food cultures--European, South American, African, I can name more continents if you'd like. And each of these cultures uses tomatoes in its own unique way. For today, I'll be showing you a European, specifically Italian, way to use tomatoes. 

Tomato Bruschetta with Mozarella and Baguette:

Serves 2-3 as an appetizer or 1-2 as a meal
2 whole ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup onion (I only had red onion when I made this recipe, but you'd typically use yellow onion. Actually, though, the red onion had a nice flavor and added some fun color.)
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup basil
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

That's all folks. It's the simplest thing to make. Basically all you do is cut up the tomatoes into small-ish pieces, chop up the onion, dice the garlic, chop the basil, throw it in a bowl with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Let it percolate for 10-15 minutes just to get the juices all nice and melded, and you're good to go!

This is a really basic, good-for-everything recipe. You can use this mixture over pasta with sausage added (stay tuned for that post), you can put this over bread like I'll show you below, or you can use it as a base for more complicated Italian sauces, pasta salad, etc etc, the list goes on.

Continuing on!

Next for this recipe (read: experience), you add mozzarella into the program. I like this kind from Trader Joe's:

It comes in full mozzarella ball form, and you cut it into slices about a 1/4 in thick (or however thick your heart fancies. We are not nit-picky here.) 

Now, slice the baguette. 

I'd do it the same size or so as the mozzarella, just to keep things comfortable. Brush a little bit of olive oil on both sides of each piece and toast slightly til golden brown or less. You really just want to warm it and give it a little crunch. No more than a few minutes in the toaster is necessary. 

Finally, add the mozzarella on top of the bread, sprinkle the bruschetta on top of that, and you've got yourself a party, my friend! Enjoy with some nice wine!

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