Are you one of those people that likes to eat appetizers more than the actual entree? I certainly am. I often find myself in restaurants completely ignoring the “main course” section, and just making a meal of two or three appetizers, or antipasto as the Italians call it. So, I am always trying re-create my favorite restaurant appetizers at home.
Many years ago, my sister introduced me to a super-chic cafe in Phoenix, Arizona, where they serve some amazing bruschetta. The ingredients were so fresh, and the herbs were so fragrant, I could have easily finished the platter by myself. Since I don’t live in Arizona, I came up with my own version of the dish. It is actually very easy to make, and it is great for entertaining!
Ingredients: (Serves 4)
4 Ripe Roma Tomatoes
1 bunch fresh basil
1 tbsp minced garlic (more or less depending on your own taste)
1/2 cup grated parmesean
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 french baguette
Some recipes call for canned tomatoes, but I think it makes a world of difference to use fresh roma tomatoes. I like to pick the ones that are red, and slightly soft, but not overripe. Start by dicing the tomatoes, and getting rid of as many seeds as possible. Transfer to a bowl.
Next, remove the basil leaves from the stems, and finely chop them. Transfer this to the bowl as well. Add the minced garlic, parmesan, and olive oil.
Mix together all of the ingredients and set aside. If you are making this for a dinner party, let it sit (covered) in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to let the flavors marry together. If you are making it for yourself, you probably won’t be able to wait that long to eat it! Once you are ready to serve, slice the baguette into 1 inch slices, and arrange them on a baking sheet. Brush a layer of olive oil on one side of each slice.
Place them in the oven and bake at 400 degrees until the edges are golden brown (3-5 min depending on your oven). They should look like this.
Spoon a few tablespoons of the tomato basil mixture onto each slice. Top with freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste. Presentation tip: Arrange the bruschetta on a platter and garnish with basil leaves and lemon wedges. Enjoy!
All of these amazing photos were taken by the talented Ben Sassani of Sassani Photography. Thank you Ben!