We haven’t grown as many tomatoes this year in the garden, so the ones we do have are currently in extra high demand. To make the most of their flavour I wanted to do as little as possible to them, which is where a classic bruschetta is perfect. The tomatoes should be very ripe and packed with flavour, combined with the best quality extra-virgin olive oil you can afford. I have been using our oil from uncle Tom’s olive grove up in the mountains of Gran Sasso d’Italia, which my brother and I bottled at Christmas. Dad and uncle Tom harvested the olives last October and cold-pressed them within a matter of hours, from a crop of olives that yielded beautifully low acidity at less than 0.1%. It’s a deliciously peppery, fruity and spicy olive oil that works wonderfully with the tomatoes, and keeping the ingredients simple ensures the beautiful flavours are not overpowered.
Some recipes suggest removing the seeds and skins of the tomatoes but I don’t think this is necessary, and prefer to just chop them up into small chunks and keep all the juices and flavour.
Sourdough bread is the perfect vessel for the tomatoes and oil, and topped off with a little fresh basil and some rock salt, creates the most deliciously simple dish.
Serves 4 as a starter, or two as a more substantial snack
Toast the bread in a griddle pan on both sides, until golden. Brush one side of each piece of toast with garlic (how much you use is up to you, but avoid old and pungent garlic, which can be a little bitter, and opt for fresh, young garlic).
Top with your chopped tomatoes and garnish with the basil. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle each piece liberally with the extra-virgin olive oil. The sourdough bread will soak it up, so be generous.