Easy and simple bruschetta with a glass of wine is how to relax and enjoy spring. Bruschetta is easy but with a couple of tips it can be great.
I found the ingredients at the Wednesday Saratoga Farmers’ Market including the bread and mozzarella. Don’t forget to pick up some wine.
I like to use cherry tomatoes in a variety of colors. Shushan Valley Hydro Farm’s cherry tomatoes come in colors and even stripes. They are so sweet, I eat them like candy. Shushan Valley Hydro Farm is a hydroponic farm; they grow their vegetables with water not soil, so you can enjoy local vegetables all year round.
In a bowl combine chopped tomatoes, olive oil, basil and balsamic or wine vinegar. Cut a baguette into slices, toast and rub with a garlic clove. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Season the bread with sea salt flakes. Spoon on the tomatoes. The juices are too yummy to leave behind in the bowl, pour it on the bread.
Top your bruschetta off with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. And that’s where things get interesting. Real, true balsamic vinegar is aged up to 50 years and cost $500 for a 3 ounce bottle. Well, no matter how good it may be, a less expensive option is needed. Traditional balsamic vinegar is only made in Italy at two locations and has the seal to prove it. It starts with what is called grape must which is whole pressed grapes, skins, seeds and all. The grape is a late harvested variety. Cooked until reduced by half and then it is fermented for three weeks and matured for 12 years. It is left in wooden barrels. Through the years, evaporation takes place through the wood, leaving thick syrup. A commission of judges evaluates the vinegar and award grade of vinegar. Wow, who knew?
Without knowing any better, I purchased an Aceto Balsamico di Modena, otherwise known as an industrial balsamic. It’s made with grape musts and red wine vinegar. It’s aged in wood barrels with an acidity of 6%. It’s not bad and works for my unrefined palate.
Another option is to use whole tomatoes in place of cherry tomatoes. Add a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese or goat cheese.
Enjoy your warmer Spring weather.
- 1½ pounds fresh tomatoes, diced
- 15 large basil leaves, thinly sliced
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for the tomatoes and toasts
- Red or white wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 8 medium slices freshly toasted bread
- 3 medium cloves garlic, halved
- Finishing sea salt, kosher salt, or flaky salt
- In a large bowl, combine tomatoes with basil and enough olive oil to generously coat. Add a splash of wine or balsamic vinegar. Toss gently, taste, and add more vinegar if desired.
- Rub garlic cloves on top surface of each toast; rub only as much as you want. Drizzle olive oil on each toast and season with salt
- Spoon tomatoes onto each toast, including any liquid that has accumulated. Season with salt. Drizzle vinegar on top. Serve right away.