Simple Bruschetta on Sourdough Crostini

24 Aug

Lately, we have been getting a lot of tomatoes and basil in our CSA box.  I also heard recently that basil can help deal with flies so I bought a couple plants to put in the backyard with the chickens.  It didn’t work, but that is another story.  Now we have basil coming out of our ears.

I have to preface this by saying I am not a huge fan of tomatoes.  (I know, I know!  But it is a texture thing!!!)  Bruschetta has never been something I look forward to eating.  Usually, I take all the massive amounts of tomatoes that come in the box and from my garden, (I know, I know, but they grow so well!!!), and cook them all down into sauce.  Mmmmm, tomato sauce.

Anyway, Hubby and I spent our 15th anniversary in Santa Barbara just a few weeks ago, WITHOUT KIDS, and had a meal at our very favorite restaurant over there, Blue Agave. Everything we have ever had there has been fantastic so I highly recommend it.  This time, after we sat down to browse the menus, our sweet server brought us a plate with two tiny bruschetta on crostinis.  I was so hungry, I didn’t care what the food was, I just needed a bite.

A. Bite.  Oh.  My.

It was UH-Mazing!  By the time Hubby looked up from his menu, I was down to only a tiny bite left.  I struggled.  Then sacrificed it to him.  Just so he could understand…

We asked for more when she took our order.

I ordered a margharita pizza just to replicate the flavors.

Then we came home.  To basil.  And tomatoes.  And my desire to re-create the incredible taste.

So I did.

And now I’m going to share it with you.  Just please, don’t complain about the terrible quality of the pictures.  I know.  You should see how badly cracked my screen has become.  Sorry.

Bruschetta on Sourdough Crostini

Bruschetta

Tomatoes, garlic (or garlic powder), sea salt, basil, olive oil, grated/shredded Parmesan cheese- preferably grass fed.
1.  Start with fresh tomatoes.  Make sure they smell like tomatoes too, strong.  I used a variety of heirloom tomatoes.

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2.  Throw about 2 cups worth into the blender.  Don’t bother peeling or de-seeding them.  You could cut out the little stem part if it is particularly tough, but my vitamix makes it all look the same.  Blend until there are no big chunks left.  I like it to be pretty much like sauce, but it is okay to leave small chunks.

3.  Put that into a saucepan over medium to low heat and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20-30 minutes.  Add some fresh diced garlic, maybe 2-3 cloves.  (The easy way is to have a good quality organic garlic powder on hand.  Use about 1/2 tsp. if you don’t have time to chop.)

4.  When it is just about done, prepare an ice bath and add a pan inside that.

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My bowls are old and dented.  Hopefully you don’t have that problem.

Dump that heated sauce into the bowl inside the ice bowl and let it cool for a few minutes.

5.  While that is cooling take another 2-3 tomatoes and chop them into small pieces.  Put that into a glass bowl.  Add about 1 tsp sea salt.

6.  Pick about 10-15 leaves from your basil.  Image

Stack them up nice and neat, then sort of roll them toward the middle stem.  Hold it together and then cut into thin slices with a sharp knife.  Or just randomly chop them into little slivers.

7.  Add just a touch more garlic powder to the fresh tomatoes in the bowl. Then dump the cooled tomato sauce in the same bowl.  Add the slivers of basil and about 2 tsp of olive oil.  Toss lightly with a fork or spoon.

Crostini

1.  First you need to start with a really high quality sourdough.  If you can make it yourself, great!  If not, find a bakery locally that uses wild yeast and ferments the bread for longer than 8 hours!

2.  Next you need a high quality olive oil.  I use Chaffin Family Orchards from northern CA.  They will ship it and it is really good stuff.

3.  Cut the bread slices into small 2 bite sized pieces.  Lay them on a cookie sheet.  Set the oven to 400*.  Spray or brush the olive oil onto the bread.  Bake for about 4 minutes.

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4.  Take them out of the oven, flip each piece over with a fork and brush the other side with olive oil.  Put it back in for about 5 minutes.  Then they are ready to be loaded.

5.  Using a spoon, load each piece of bread with some of the bruschetta.Image

7.  Once all the bread has been stacked with yumminess, add the final touch: shredded Parmesan cheese.  (I use the raw stuff from Trader Joe’s.  I know it is not likely from grass fed cows.  It is a compromise I make because shredding parm is hard work!  Sometimes I pick up some better quality stuff from Whole Paycheck Foods.

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Next, eat at least two pieces before you tell the troops that it is ready.  Otherwise you will be lucky to get any at all.  As you can see, I didn’t even bother wiping the cheese off my hands before sneaking the first taste.

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Mmmmm.  Just like I remember!

And the kids like it too!

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