Historically, bruschetta was embraced by Italians for its ability to stretch out a meager supply of food. Today it’s one of my favorite comfort meals that is easy to prepare and bursting with summer flavors. In its truest Italian form, bruschetta requires bread be toasted over real coals, then rubbed down with slices of raw garlic. Drizzling olive oil over the bread and toasting until golden brown in a pan saves on time and tastes better, in my opinion. Top with chopped tomatoes and basil straight from the herb garden makes it a show stopper. The way the sweet juices from the tomatoes soak into the garlicky toasted bread is irresistible.
5 Minute Bruschetta
The inspiration for this 5 minute bruschetta comes from my encounter with dry farmed tomatoes in a recent trip to San Francisco. Stuck in a 2 hour layover at the Phoenix Airport, I connected with four people from four different states over a heated discussion over food and the introduction to dry farmed tomatoes.
After landing late Friday night, I woke up early Saturday morning to rush off to the Foodbuzz Conference, which was conveniently at the Ferry Building. Giving up on the scheduled scavenger hunt, I set off to find the dry farmed tomatoes.
There were stands pouring with dry farmed tomatoes and many more vegetables that I wish I could purchase. I am proud to say that I took home three of these ruby, red jewels from San Francisco back to Austin!
Now don’t underestimate these tomatoes. These smaller, round, bright red fruits pack an intense, sweet flavor and rich texture that is unmatched by store-bought tomatoes. The local farmers at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market told me they after transplanting the young tomato plants into the field, they saturated the plants with 3 waterings and then withhold irrigation once their roots are established. This forces the plants to send their roots deeper into the soil to seek out the water, resulting in less overall volume, but highly flavorful fruit.
Never keep tomatoes in the fridge – the cold will turn their tender, flavorful flesh mealy and bland. Less ripe tomatoes will brighten up on a room temperature counter-top, but keep them out of direct sunlight.
The intense flavor of the dry farmed tomatoes shines in bruschetta. The tomatoes taste almost buttery with a velvety texture. Being spoiled with dry farmed tomatoes, I probably can’t taste another tomato the same again! Regular tomatoes are bland and watery.
If you don’t have access to dry farmed tomatoes, I recommend briefly heating that tomatoes up in a pan. It intensifies the sweetness while preserving the bright, fresh flavor. For a gorgeous look, mix tomato colors and shapes, such as yellow and orange pear tomatoes paired with red grape tomatoes.