Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bruschetta Update

This past Saturday while down at the St. Lawrence Market, I scored some beautifully ripe plum tomatoes. Seems as if the grower (a friend) had potted some plants and had them on his sun porch. In the warm weather we enjoyed this March, they got off to a fantastic start, and he’s had them outside since late April. I managed to talk him out of three of these little beauties. So you know what I made for our first course on Father’s Day.

Stonemill Bakery down in the basement of the south market makes a fantastic sour dough multigrain baguette, so that covered the base. We used oil pressed from organic green olives that we purchased from our friends at La Porta di Vertine in Tuscany. (Those of you from Rye Neck HS will be interested to know that this is the winery owned by Ellen Ross and her husband. More on this at a future date.) Basil was covered by fresh-picked leaves from our own plants. A garlic clove, a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and that’s it – just marvelous! We just can’t wait until our own tomatoes are ready which, judging by their current size, we’re about six weeks away from that day.

Because we weren’t sure whether it was going to bucket any moment, we had to pan toast the bread indoors rather than outside over our wood fire. It tasted lovely but would have been that much better with a little wood smoke added to the flavor. That’s a lovely foil for the pepperiness of the olive oil. Try toasting the bread over an open fire if you get the chance. Coals from real wood (as opposed to briquettes) are best, either from wood or hardwood charcoal. I encourage you to try it.

We enjoy cooking and eating complicated dishes, but there’s a lot to be said about the goodness of simple food. Bruschetta made with the finest ingredients you can get your hands on fits that description.

[Sidebar: That beautiful platter was bought by Vicki as her special remembrance of our time at a villa near Gaiole in Chianti. The potter was a wonderfully warm lady with whom Vicki really enjoyed speaking, in Italian, of course. I wasn’t much good there, so I just browsed all the lovely hand-painted dishes, at a fraction of the price you would pay at the tourist traps in San Gimignano.]

For the complete recipe for Bruschetta, click HERE.

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