Beat the January Blues with Summer on a Plate
Whenever I low-carb to feel a bit more comfortable in my own skin and the clothes used to clothe it, there's only one thing I miss and that's my healthy and quick lunch time go-to dish of bruschetta. I've always loved of flavours of bruschetta; ripe fresh tomatoes, zingy garlic, peppery extra virgin olive oil and fragrant basil This says summer on a plate to me and as I live Scotland, sometimes the plate's the only place you'll find summer!
For years I attempted to perfect and hone my bruschetta skills at home - I mean, it's only a handful of ingredients, so how hard can it be? Turned out, it was a bit trickier than I first thought but now, to my taste at least, I've got it nailed. I've found that sourcing the right bread is actually key to my perfect bruschetta, with Crosta & Mollica's Farina Pugliese my top choice. I toast it dry on a griddle plate to get the nice charred lines but you could do it until the grill too, just be carefully to give it a light toast as you're aiming for crunch rather than crisp.
I don't use red onion in my version as I think there's enough going on flavour wise, although I do salt the tomatoes a couple of minutes in advance of assembling and add a splash of white balsamic vinegar. I prefer the flavour of the white balsamic in this, rather than the dark, plus the pale colour keeps the dish bright and fresh.
If you give the recipe a try, I'd love you to tell me what you think and share your own bruschetta tips and twists.
INGREDIENTS FOR ONE
1 slice of Farina Pugliese toasting bread
1 large or 2 small fresh tomatoes (Italian if possible)
1 small garlic clove
A splash of white balsamic vinegar (to taste, really)
Glug of good quality extra virgin olive oil
Fresh basil leaves (again, to taste)
1. Chop the tomato/es and if very 'wet' drain a little of the juice. Pop into a bowl and add a good pinch of salt and set aside for a few minutes. The salt will draw more moisture from the tomatoes and up the favour.
2. Next set the griddle to a medium-high heat. Add the bread but be careful that in doesn't burn and turn over as it starts to colour.
3. When both sides of bread are almost done add a splash of the white balsamic to the tomatoes.
4. Remove the bread/toast from griddle and rub one side all over with the garlic clove.
5. Add about a teaspoon of olive oil to the tomatoes then, using a slotted spoon, spoon tomatoes over the bread.
6. Finish with another drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some freshly torn basil leaves. Eat immediately.
Photography by Susie Cormack Bruce