Bruschetta al Pomodoro
Nothing highlights the flavor of a fresh heirloom tomato like bruschetta. For this recipe, we tossed the heirlooms in a minimal vinaigrette with just basil, black pepper, and flake salt so that their tangy, sweet, acidic complexity can shine. But the real difference here might be the toast: We grilled slices of fresh baguette, and then rubbed them down with raw garlic. The toast is soft on the inside, crispy and smoky on the outside, and has a wonderful garlic bite — pungent and spicy. It’s the perfect companion for the heirlooms.
Our bruschetta never even made it out of the photo vignette at the top of this post. After we photographed it, everyone in the test kitchen gathered around and ate it right off the prop table — piling spoonfuls of tomato on toast. There was a moment of silence, as everyone took their first bites, and then the reviews started pouring out. “It’s so good,” someone said, “I could eat it by the spoonful.” Excellent, more of that grilled toast for us.
Bruschetta comes together in 15 minutes or so, which makes it great for an impromptu or post-work happy hour. We served ours with a bottle of La Marca Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene. It smells like honey, but tastes like ripe lemons and green apples, a tartness that will bring out the heirlooms’ bright notes.
Our tip: If you don’t have a grill, you can toast the bread in the oven or on a grill pan. But our best advice is to use the grill if you can — the oven can’t compete.
Servings: 6 to 8
1 lb heirloom tomatoes
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
½ tsp white wine vinegar
¼ cup basil, rough chopped
½ tsp flake salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 large clove garlic, cut in half
2 oz Parmesan cheese, shaved
Preheat the oven to 400º or a grill or grill pan to high.
Medium-dice the tomatoes, discarding about ½ of the seeds.
In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil, white wine vinegar, and basil and season with flake salt and black pepper.
Cut the baguette into 1-inch slices on the diagonal. On a sheet pan, drizzle the bread slices with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle on the flake salt and black pepper.
Toast the bread slices until they’re crispy on the outside and soft in the center, about 3 to 5 minutes in the oven, or 30 seconds to 1 minute on a hot grill, flipping halfway through.
Remove the toast slices from the oven or grill and set them aside until they’re cool enough to handle.
Using one half of the garlic clove, rub garlic on each toast slice, making sure to cover the entire surface.
Spoon the tomato mixture onto the toast slices, garnish with Parmesan cheese, and serve immediately.