Grilling in summer is best accompanied with the basic bruschetta al pomodoro. Having this to start the meal can be dangerously good that you tend to eat too much and end up not having much space anymore for the rest of the courses.
The bread used for the bruschette are perfect as space fillers in the grill rack while waiting for the meat or fish to cook. You can have the tomato mixture & extra virgin olive oil ready on the table and everyone can prepare his own when the hot bread arrive. You have no idea how high the mountains of tomatoes can be piled up on top of a slice of bread. Sometimes you look a tall one and wonder how the hell it will fit in the mouth without all the tomatoes falling off? By the way, the tomatoes do fall off so be ready with a plate to catch them.
I love it when I rub the garlic on the hot bread. Unfortunately, I don't get to enjoy this often as I live with a "please don't eat garlic if you're speaking with me person". Some of our friends are even worse. They refuse to stay not less than a meter from you after ingesting anything touched with garlic. So that gives me the tendency to be a closet garlic eater.
So if you enjoy the taste of garlic, this one is for you. Rubbing the halved garlic on a hot slice of bread then drizzling it with extra virgin olive oil exudes a wonderful smell. Uhhhmm, for some people that is. You can actually already eat the bread like this. Do this only when you know that your oil is of good quality. Using good oil makes a whole lot of difference. Back in the days, I thought they all taste the same but after having a full 4 course dinner (including dessert) of degustazione (tasting) of extra virgin olive oil in Tuscany once, I understood what the fuss was all about. We found a couple of good small producers that from then on, we had been buying from. We use this oil raw, on salads, bruschette, pasta or just on a piece of bread. I use the commercially made ones for cooking.
Like with the good oil, use the best tomatoes you can find. After all, the tomatoes & oil are the protagonists of this dish. I like using cherry or grape tomatoes because they are the tastiest especially the pacchino, datterini or vesuviano. Chop them as finely as you can so that they won't fall off so much from the bread while you're eating them. I am usually in a hurry so I don't get to chop them as small as I would want to.
Bruschetta with Tomatoes & Basil (Bruschetta al Pomodoro)
- 4 slices of bread preferably pane casareccio
- 250 g. cherry or grape tomatoes, minced
- bunch of basil, minced
- 1 clove garlic (optional), halved
- extra virgin olive oil
- In a bowl, mix the tomatoes, basil, salt, extra virgin oil & garlic (optional). You have the option of mixing the garlic with the tomatoes or rubbing them on the grilled bread.
- Grill both sides of the bread on the barbecue grill (the best), in the oven, on a griddle or even in a bread toaster.
- Rub one side with the halved garlic, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil then spoon the tomato mixture on it.
- Serve while hot.