Another week calls for another recipe! It’s been a while since I posted an appetizer on gourmetcubicle, so I thought it would be a good idea to have one while I take a break to enjoy my well-deserved vacation. I will be traveling to Chile, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m thrilled about trying their food and drinks, learning about their habits and traditions, and meeting amazing people on the road.
I didn’t truly think or plan this trip until a few days prior to departure, which left me in panic mode. I like to think of myself as someone who works best under pressure, but that isn’t always the case. I always book my flights ahead of time, but that’s about it—I leave accommodation and research to when I’m there. I like the spontaneity of talking to newfound friends on the road and finding out what’s worth seeing and doing. It works for me, but it can be quite stressful if you’re not used to it. It’s definitely not for everyone.
I usually start feeling the thrill of traveling only a few days before it happens. That’s when I become the annoying person who tells everyone about my upcoming trip: friends, coworkers, neighbors, cashiers at Central Market, and now you, too, my dear reader. By the time you read this, I’ll be backpacking through Torres Del Paine in the breathtaking southern Chilean Patagonia. I’ll be hiking for about a week, and while I’m out there, I’ll be cooking instant ramen noodles, soups and pasta on my camping stove, enjoying cups of hot tea and mountain sunrises from my cozy tent.
I’ll also be spending a week up north on the coast. My dear friend Camilla, who I met during a backpacking trip in Peru a few years ago, put me in touch with some local artists who are going to host me and introduce me to the local art and food scene. One of them, Juan Pablo, was kind enough to invite me to have lunch with his family. His mother will cook a few Chilean specialties. He even offered to teach me a few recipes, so keep an eye on my Instagram and blog because the Cooking with Friends series may have a new post soon.
As I was preparing for this trip, I decided to eat everything that is perishable. I wasn’t really in the mood for anything that required too much work, so when I saw tomatoes bruschetta, came to my mind instantly. There are many variations of bruschetta and differing opinions on which is the original/authentic/traditional recipe. Many people automatically associate bruschetta with tomatoes and basil, but it can also be topped with roasted garlic, beans, cured meats, mozzarella, vegetables, or even olives. All bruschetta, regardless of toppings, consists of four basic ingredients: roasted crusty bread, fresh garlic, fine olive oil, and sea salt. This bread is roasted (or bruscare, in Italian) over coals, thus the name bruschetta.
Bruschetta con Pomodoro, or tomato bruschetta, is the most common way of preparing this simple and delicious appetizer, and it happens to be my favorite variety. Enjoy!
BASIL AND TOMATO BRUSCHETTA
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Inactive time: 15 minute
- 5 Roma tomatoes, deseeded and roughly diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 1 Tbsp.)
- 15-20 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped (about 1/3 cup)
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 ½ Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (preferably from Modena)
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 4-5 slices of stale bread cut into ¾ inch thick slices (preferably Tuscan, Ciabatta, Pagnotta or other crusty bread)
- 1 clove whole garlic
- extra virgin olive oil, to taste
- coarse sea salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F(200C) degrees.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix tomatoes, garlic, basil, salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Toss until all ingredients are well combined. Sprinkle with parmesan and stir again. Taste and adjust seasoning. (Tomatoes love salt, so you may need to add more!)
- Allow the tomato mixture to rest for about 15-20 minutes in the refrigerator.
- In the meantime, place bread slices on a baking sheet. Toast them in the oven for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip on the other side, and toast them for another minute or so. Remove them from the oven.
- Rub freshly toasted bread with garlic and sprinkle with olive oil. Spread a tablespoon or so of tomato mixture. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt to taste. Enjoy!