You might know this has a back story because, well, I’ve almost always got one for you.
It all started when I had my cottage industry beginning in the 80’s. We manufactured the most adorable appliqued tea towels under the name Apple Kay’s right here in little old Nebraska.
Over a stretch of 22 years, we sold thousands of them in holiday and everyday designs. Here are a couple so you get a feel for them. Our best customers were little gift shops in touristy areas.
Well, selling all those towels meant traveling and exhibiting at gift shows and one of our favorite places to go was Ft. Washington, PA to a show called Market Square. On one trip there, daughter Karen and I discovered a little Italian restaurant in the upstairs of an old house. Customers carried in their own bottles of wine and the chef and staff argued loudly in the kitchen in Italian. Authentico!
Being the hicks we were back then, we’d never tasted bruschetta, but we’ve never been known to shy away from a culinary adventure! (Like the amazing tandoori at an Indian restaurant we found or weiner schnitzel and red cabbage at Otto’s Brau Haus! But I digress….) Bruschetta (say it Broo-sketta) is really a class of antipasto (appetizers) and not a specific recipe. There are as many versions as there are kitchens.
We fell in love with their version of bruschetta and rolled it around on our tongues trying to analyze the ingredients. This is as close as I can get and it’s really more a method than a recipe. We have it almost every day in the summer when fresh tomatoes are abundant at the farmer’s market.
I often make up just one or two tomatoes for Papa and me, but when we meet up for a family summer feast I make a huge batch using 8 or 10 tomatoes and it gets devoured! It’s also great spooned on a burger or added to a salad. And it should actually have a warning label cautioning addiction!
Bruschetta is fun to say and even more fun to eat! I could make a meal of it! Best of all it’s so quick and easy to throw together I bet you’ll be making it all summer long now that you know how!
It all starts with good, firm ripe tomatoes and fresh basil!!
Wash, core and chop the tomato coarsely and throw it in a bowl reserving as much juice as you can. I prefer a glass bowl because this is somewhat acidic. You can use a combination of yellow and red tomatoes or any heirloom variety. It makes it even more beautiful. Cherry or grape tomatoes work fine too. Especially home grown. And my Lord, especially still warm from the sun!
Some prefer to use only the meat of the tomato and you can decide but we love the “jus” that forms when everything mingles and the delicious way it soaks into the bread or cracker you choose. As I said, there are as many ways to make it as there are kitchens.
I’m not especially proud of how my basil “chiffonade” looks in this picture. I admit I was in a hurry but then I was born that way. Ideally the basil leaves should be stacked on top of each other and rolled up then cut in thin ribbons, hence the name chiffonade meaning “to crumple.” If you’re a purist you can find dozens of videos thanks to Mr. Google. If not, do what I do and just close your eyes, open your mouth and enjoy it!!
Now just add the rest of the ingredients, stir gently and allow it to sit while the ingredients all meet, fall in love and make magic. I maintain it tastes best at room temperature although it sure can be refrigerated. Tomatoes can vary a lot in their sweetness so feel free to adjust your sugar, salt and balsamic til your mouth is happy!!
Classic bruschetta is served on crostini or thin buttered garlic toast like The Pioneer Woman touts. She makes hers in a skillet and it looks great. Here’s the deal though. For a lot less hassle and time spent, we have found a woven wheat cracker like Triscuit works splendidly and soaks up all the marvelous juices like a sponge. I admit if “you are what you eat,” I can be fast, cheap and easy!! Just sayin’!
Ta Da!! You are now a kitchen maven who can whip up a batch of fresh brushetta like a champ!! Enjoy!! And love every drop of sunshine in the season!
Classic Bruschetta in Minutes
The happiest marriage of fresh tomatoes, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Fun to say, even more fun to eat.
- 1 medium to large firm, ripe tomato the fresher the better
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped basil fresh is best
- 2 tsp sugar, or to taste
- 1 to 2 tsp salt, or to taste. Start with less and work up. I like to use Kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp good balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp fresh grated Parmesan cheese for topping (optional but amazing!)
Core and coarsely chop tomato. Chop basil in fine shreds (chiffonade). Put in glass bowl, add salt, sugar, garlic powder, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.
Stir gently to combine ingredients and allow to sit for 30 minutes or so to let the favors fall in love and marry. I prefer to make this close to mealtime so it can be served at room temperature. Traditionally served on thin, crisp buttered garlic toast or crostini. However, we've found that a woven wheat cracker like Triscuit makes a dandy quick palette for this divine creation in our crazy life.
If you enjoyed this recipe today, please share it on your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. I’d sure be tickled and ever so grateful, thank you!
If you haven’t already, check out my Facebook page where I’ll be posting easy, delicious and family-friendly recipes every week!