Vine-ripened, juicy tomatoes, basil, lemon juice, red onion, and a shot of balsamic piled high on garlic parmesan toast brings out the velociraptors in all of us. Summer’s Best Bruschetta goes fast and is the perfet way to celebrate the high summer.
Summer’s Best Bruschetta is to summer what Christmas trees are to Christmas. Each summer we all anticipate those beautiful, juicy, garden-fresh tomatoes and fresh basil so we can gather around a bowl and inhale our favorite summer appetizer like velociraptors. Truthfully, we start out civilized with our slotted spoon, but as the contents of the bowl start to diminish it is every man for himself. Etiquette goes out the window and hands descend from all directions with toast in hand dipping ravenously. Clearly, it is a full on bruschetta collision at the bowl.
Are You Pronouncing it Correctly?
Now truthfully, knowing how to pronounce this Italian word is not going to make it taste any better, but knowing the pronunciation will make the experience more authentic not to mention make you sound a little more intelligent than most Americans. The way Italians pronounce bruschetta is “Brew-sket-ta, with a “k”. Most of us have pronounced bruschetta with a “sh” sound, like “brew-shet-ta.” Now you know, and although your American waiter may not know what you are ordering when you go out to eat, at least you won’t sound like such a tourist when you visit Italy.
Preparing the Garlic Parmesan Toast
Truthfully, preparing the garlic parmesan toast takes the most time. Theoretically, you could just slice a baguette and spoon on the bruschetta (but this is not the time to shrink back with your lazy pants on). You could also just toast them with olive oil (gives it that crunch appeal). But, to yummialize them, I like to toast them with olive oil (on the broiler setting of the oven) and when they are nice and golden, rub a clove of garlic on to give it that garlic bread flavor. Then, finish them off with a sprinkle of fresh grated parmesan cheese. They can take a second run in the oven to melt the cheese if you want.
Preparing the Bruschetta
Interestingly, bruschetta may look fancy, but it is simple to prepare. Apart from preparing the garlic parmesan toast, all the other ingredients get tossed into a food processor and pulsed a few times. That’s it! You may want to strain out some of the juices or just use a slotted spoon so the tomatoes can continue to marinate in all those delicious flavors of summer.
Additionally, I use my Preserved Lemon peel to add that salty/tart lemon flavor that adds a depth of flavor to almost all my sauces, dressings, and savory recipes. Technically, it is and optional ingredient, but if you have a jar of preserved lemons in your refrigerator, you will be looking for recipes to use them in. If you haven’t prepared them, put it on your list of things to do when the meyer lemons are in season. You can thank me later. They truly are my favorite condiment.
Juicy Tomatoes From My Local Farm…The Red Thread
I have previously shared my gardening woes since moving to Tennessee, so I depend on my local favorite farm up the road to provide us with our juicy tomatoes. This last week, I placed my order with Red Thread Farm and to my horror realized tomatoes were not on the list of items to order. Interestingly, tomatoes don’t like the heat (warm, not hot) and August is our hottest month down here. Thankfully, when I arrived I told Jeremy, the farmer extraordinaire and heart behind this amazing small farm, that I was hoping to make one last batch of bruschetta. He graciously went to the back and grabbed me some beautiful tomatoes. Undoubtedly, I was doing a happy dance inside.
There is nothing like connecting to a local farm, speaking with the farmer who grows your food, and seeing first-hand the love that goes into every vegetable. If you are in the Leipers Fork area, check out the Red Thread Farm. Not only does Jeremy grow amazing vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, herbs, and eggs, but he partners with some amazing local artisans to bring in fresh baked sourdough, hummus, beef, cheese, Kombucha, candles, soap, tea, and even healing slaves. The list is growing as he continues to make connections. It’s a one-stop weekly destination I look forward to every week.
- 6 large tomatoes, chopped ( I like to use heirloom tomatoes in different colors for flavor and prettification)
- 6-8 cloves of garlic chopped (2 T)
- 1 small, red onion, chopped finely
- 1/4 preserved lemon rind, minced (optional)
- 2 cups fresh basil, finely torn with stems removed
- 2 T balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp sea salt, or flaked salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
- For the Baguette Toasts:
- 2 baguettes, sliced thinly
- 1/4 cup olive oil (for basting the baguette toasts)
- 2 garlic cloves (for rubbing on toast)
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (fine grate)
- In a food processor, add chopped tomatoes, garlic, preserved lemon (if using) chopped onion, basil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
- Gently pulse to combine ingredients. Leave chunky. You are not processing to make soup.
- Set aside so the flavors can combine.
- Meanwhile, slice baguettes into thin slices and layer on a parchement lined baking sheet.
- Using a pastry brush, brush each slice with olive oil.
- Place under the broiler of the over until golden. The initial toast will probably take anywhere between 5-10 minutes. Watch carefully. These will burn quickly.
- When they are golden, take them out and rub a sliced garlic clove over each piece of toast.
- Sprinkle parmesan cheese over each slice and return to the broiler for 30 seconds to a minute longer.
- To serve, place a bowl filled with the tomato mixture and a slotted spoon in the middle of a plate. Line the plate with the toasted garlic parmesan toasts and allow people to prepare their own bruschetta. Otherwise, the toast can get soggy. EnJOY!
Bruschetta has a lot of liquid so it is best to use a slotted spoon when serving.
Sunset Bruschetta Picnic
Like I said, there is no better way to celebrate the high summer than with a bowl of garden-fresh Bruschetta on garlic parmesan toast. Summer lingers long here in Tennesse so I prepare this recipe often. It is great for a leisurly Sunday afternoon picnic with family or shared at a food gathering (double the recipe…it goes fast).
We celebrated our last week before school started with a sunset picnic at Preservation Park, a local favorite hike with a view and history to boot. Does anyone else have a husband who always stops to read every sign? Up on top of the hill, you can see for miles around in all directions. The sunset, as it plays on the clouds, is the perfect backdrop for a picnic blanket thrown on the grass and a healthy, delicious snack to enJOY together.