I truly believe tomatoes do not belong in sandwiches; really, they just make everything soggy. Tomatoes are fine in salads and pastas because everything is already wet. In my mind, tomatoes go from being a meal accessory to the star of the show in one dish - bruschetta.
It is nearly the perfect food. I say "nearly" because there are some other top contenders out there: ice cream, grilled chicken burritos, homemade granola with vanilla yogurt, Chicago style pizza... bruschetta is definitely in the top 10 though. Actually, it should probably be in the top 5 because it is soooo healthy. When you think about it, is there really anything else that is as healthy as this tomato mixture and still tastes so good? Honestly, I can eat (our) bruschetta until I get hives.
Bruschetta is one of those foods that is easily customized to specific tastes. Some people add a little extra basil, some go wild with the garlic, ahem - mom, and others add crazy things like olives, cheese, or, gasp, red peppers.
Here is our version:Tomato Mixture
Sous chef Sam (gotta give him credit) cut up about five of the best looking on the vine store bought tomatoes you have ever seen into a medium dice.
Added about a 1/4 cup of fresh basil. I like to use the stack, roll and cut approach here - you get a nice chiffonade cut and you don't have basil stuck to every surface of the kitchen.
Mixed in about 3 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or EVOO for all of you Rachel Ray fans.
Pressed 1/2 clove of fresh garlic and saved the other half for rubbing on the toast. Yes, just 1/2 clove, so as not to OVERPOWER the other flavors - mom.
Salt to taste.
A pinch of sugar is needed to bring out the flavor of tomatoes.
Lastly, the ingredient we add that makes my mother cringe - balsamic vinegar about 1 tbs.
Mix it all together and let sit while you get the toast ready.
Sliced the Zingerman's sourdough bread into 1/2 inch thick slices and rubbed them with a clove of garlic that had been cut in half.
Sprayed both sides with Extra Virgin Olive Oil via my Misto.
Sprinkled a little salt on the bread.
Grilled the bread slices on my cast iron griddle and smoked up the house.
Toasted the bread until golden and crispy around the edges, but not hockey pucks.
Assemble like so: