Today is the last full day of summer, and one of its paradoxes is that though the days are getting shorter and cooler, tomatoes are coming into their prime, making it the perfect time to make gazpacho, caprese salad, or bruschetta.
Recently, Santa Maria took note of the changing of the seasons by picking up some ripe tomatoes, a head of basil, and a loaf of fresh bread. She took ten minutes to mix it up bruschetta, and we ate it with a glass of wine. It was a Saturday—which to the naïve would seem to be a time of rest but parents of young children know better—and because she had taken the time to prepare this simple and delicious appetizer, we all enjoyed a moment of peace.
The moment was sandwiched between picking up the house after a day of play and getting ready to make dinner, which in a way made it all the more sweeter. I suggest that you do something similar, on this first weekend of fall. Go, make yourself a moment of delicious food and appreciate the changing of the seasons.
Santa Maria learned to make this from her Italian-born college roommate (and I think she first ate it at her house in Tuscany), and it has one slight variation on most bruschetta recipes that I have seen. She does not chop the garlic and mix it with the tomato and basil. Instead, she rubs a clove over a toasted piece of bread, and the raw garlic gives each bite of bruschetta a sharp kick.
Bruschetta the Santa Maria Way
- 1 tomato, chopped
- Fresh basil leaves, washed and torn into little bits.
- Olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- slices of fresh bread, toasted
In a bowl, mix the chopped tomatoes with the basil, some oil, and a bit of salt.
Rub the toasted pieces of bread on one side with the raw garlic. The garlic clove will start to come apart, and that is fine.
Top the garlic-rubbed bread with the tomato-basil mixture and eat right away. These are best made a few at a time and enjoyed in the moment. If they sit around, they are liable to get soggy.