Basil, Tomato, and Olive Bruschetta

August 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

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Tomato bruschetta is one of my favorite things to make when tomatoes are in (a very short) season here in Wisconsin. Coincidentally, fresh basil is also plentiful in the garden at the same time each year. What a fine coincidence, don’t you think?

I came up with this particular tomato, basil, and olive version as a young, childless bride, still eager to impress my then new husband (the days he still remembers with fondness). And – trust me on this one – it is absolutely delicious (as well as simple to throw together, as you will soon see).

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My favorite tomato variety of all time is Brandywine – one of the heirlooms (for, in my opinion, non-heirloom breeds are not worth eating). I love Brandywines because they are huge, meaty, very dark-red when ripe (although you’ll want to pick them sooner than that and let them ripen on your counter, lest the slugs beat you to them), and, in my opinion, deliver a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity.

I like to use pitted kalamata olives from our food cooperative and slice them myself. Those babies have a whole lot of flavor – so do me and yourself a favor and don’t use the canned stuff. I’d be eating locally-grown olives, but this is Wisconsin, and olives can’t grow. Which is good, because this means that we can have the kind of long, bitterly-cold winters I live for.

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Grab some basil from the garden, too…

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Dice the tomatoes and throw them in a bowl…

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I have this small (cheap) santoku knife that I love to use to finely slice fine small things, and it is perfect for slicing these olives into neat, attractive circles.

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Now throw some basil on top… I opted to tear it with my hands rather than slicing, because, for some reason (feel free to explain why), basil darkens really fast when sliced with a knife.

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Now pour some oil on top (I like to use sunflower, but olive works too)…

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Some red-wine vinegar…

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Then toast some rustic-looking bread

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Grab a clove of garlic from this year’s crop (last year’s crop is fine too)…

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Rub the toast with the halved garlic clove… Note the rustic design of my plate to go with the rustic bread.

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And spread the tomato mixture right on top. Done!

Note: You may wish to brush your toast with some oil of your choice first to keep it from becoming soggy, but I actually prefer my bread soggy, and I also don’t like to fuss with the pastry brush when I don’t need to.

Keep in mind that the tomato topping doesn’t keep at all, so don’t be like me – only make enough for one meal.

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