Classic Summer Bruschetta

classic bruschettaWhen I was nine or ten, an idea struck me sometime around February.  I wanted to put on my boots and gloves, trek through the drifts, and form an arsenal of snowballs.  Then I could gather those snowballs, pop them into the freezer, and store them until sometime after the Fourth of July.  Once the summer arrived and the humidity was thick enough to scoop it with a spoon, I imagined inviting family and friends over for a snowball fight.  In shorts and flip-flops, we’d hurl the snowballs through the air, feeling the temperatures drop with each frosty hit until the humidity melted away like the snowballs themselves.

In reality, our freezer didn’t have room for dozens and dozens of snowballs.  Plus, I was warned that by July those snowballs would be ice blocks.  Still, it is an interesting thought…

bruschettaAs sledding and snowball fights are to a winter’s day, what if we could take the best of other seasons and offer it to another as a gift?  When crisp autumn leaves blow to the ground, what if we could give ourselves a bouquet of lilacs from the prior spring?  Or what if in the depths of a blizzard, we could gift ourselves a still warm, ripe-off-the-vine summer tomato?

If I could pack a time capsule for myself with all of summer’s best, I would pack up the juiciest of watermelons, corn on the cob, a basket of tender peaches and delicate figs, and a handful of fragrant basil.  I’d open two mason jars and fill one with the scent of freshly cut grass and the other with the scent of food cooking on the grill.  I’d pack up that delicious heavy feeling that you get from a long day of biking or boating or hiking, making it wonderfully easy to sleep that night with open windows, while the crickets sing love songs just outside.

tofu & bruschettaAnd when I opened my time capsule in the darkest months of the year, I would lay out a blanket and have a living room picnic.  After I was done, warm from the afterglow of summer, I’d put on my boots and gloves and trek outside through the drifts to roll a snowball and pop it in the freezer, because every yin needs a yang.  And just as a sweet tomato is made noticeably sweeter by way of a splash of vinegar, so is the summer’s sun made ever sweeter by the knowledge of how fleeting it is by its very nature.

bread toasted on the grill

bruschettaClassic Summer Bruschetta

Makes about 20 pieces

This classic tomato bruschetta is better the next day, after the flavors have been allowed to meld.  Often in bruschetta recipes, instead of including garlic in the bruschetta itself, people rub a cut clove of garlic onto slices of baguette.  Personally, I’m always inclined for more garlic flavor instead of less.  However, if you shy away from the stinking rose, feel free to go the old fashioned route instead.  I also prefer not to seed my tomatoes before making bruschetta.  I think so much of the ripe, vibrant flavor of the tomatoes is in the gel around the seeds, and I don’t want to lose an ounce of it.

  • 2 small-sized garlic cloves, minced or zested with a Microplane zester
  • 4 medium-sized tomatoes, diced in medium chunks (about 4 cups)
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped small
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil + extra for lightly oiling baguette
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 baguette, cut into ½ inch slices

In a medium-sized bowl, combine tomatoes, basil, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt & pepper.  Cover the bowl and keep it in the refrigerator for a day to allow the flavors to meld.  (If you’re short on time, you can skip the waiting period.)

Once the bruschetta is ready, heat outdoor grill to 400 degrees.  Lightly oil the baguette slices and grill on each side for a few minutes, until brown and toasted.  Remove from grill, top the slices with the tomato bruschetta, and serve.

34 thoughts on “Classic Summer Bruschetta

  1. Even though squash and tomatoes in my garden are threatening to take over the yard, I’m not a huge fan of tomatoes (I know…craziness.) But my mom loves them and uses them for cooking. I just wanted to say your photos are gorgeous. The colors are so vibrant and alive! I’m sure your bruschetta is delicious ;)

  2. I love this simple bruschetta recipe! Bruschetta is so wonderful because it is so minimal yet it is bursting with flavor. Plus it is a great way to take advantage of summer tomatoes and basil.

    • So true! During this time of year when tomatoes are at their best, I’m more inclined to just get out of their way and let them shine. A little bit of balsamic, salt and pepper enhances their flavors without masking them. Plus, when tomatoes are in season, I want to eat my weight in them. This gets me one step closer! :)

  3. I love this post so much as my seasons are out of whack with the Northern Hemisphere and I’ve been coveting bloggers summery recipes from my cold dark home for what seems like forever! Thankfully spring isn’t too far away…

    A time capsule is a wonderful concept to embrace the best of both seasons – juicy red tomatoes and basil would be high on my list to put in it. Your bruschetta looks gorgeous!

    • Thanks so much, Mel, for all the kind words!

      “Thankfully spring isn’t too far away…” Ah, your hope is my sadness! I was just telling someone the other day that I would enjoy fall a whole lot more if it was immediately followed by spring. Knowing that those crisp autumn leaves takes us one step closer to shoveling and cold makes me less inclined to enjoy the changing seasons.

  4. i LOVE bruscetta! it reminds me of when i went to spain and they always automatically put “tomato bread” on the table (but then charge you for it :P).

  5. Such a pretty post! If I could pack up one thing to travel across the seasons, it’d be English asparagus – it’s gorgeous, but the season is so short, and so erratic because of the weather!

    • Oh, excellent choice! I couldn’t agree more! Asparagus season is way too short, and it’s one of my very favorite vegetables. I’m so excited when it’s here, but it’s gone much too quickly!

  6. You totally read my mind, Cad! We have a ton of tomatoes that multiple people have given to us. When I asked Josh yesterday morning what he thought I should make with them, he said bruscetta. Now I don’t have to spend time searching for a recipe!

    • Thank you, Kelly! Yes, the bread is great on the grill, and we often use garlic sourdough instead of a baguette for extra garlicky goodness. When we’re already outside grilling vegetables, it makes it that much easier to keep an eye on them. Plus, everything tastes better on the grill!

  7. Yum. I can almost smell the heady scent of fresh tomatoes, basil and grilled bread. I once did kind of a cross between your snowballs, and preserving ripe summer tomatoes. I popped a bunch of beautiful, ripe tomatoes in the freezer. Then when I removed one in the winter, it looked startlingly like a fresh tomato — except it was hard as a rock. It was thrilling, though, to see it! I put it into a pot of soup and enjoyed a little bit of preserved summer.

    • In the deepest, darkest part of winter, it really is the little things! I love the image you painted of opening your freezer to the sight of a whole tomato. It reminds me of last winter when our Co-op suddenly had local, organic basil! Apparently, some farm here has a greenhouse, and it was like a gift to get that taste of summer while the earth was still covered with snow.

  8. Had you experimented, your snowballs may have turned to ice blocks, but you still had me beat in the snowball preserving arena. When I was super little, I was so incredibly saddened when I discovered that the snowballs I had carefully placed in a ziplock and stored away in my toy box for later use had disappeared (and left behind what I can only imagine were some incredibly soggy dolls). You live, you learn. :)

    I love the imagery of preserving one season’s pleasures and bounties in a time capsule to open in the midst of another. It’s making me smile just thinking about — after trekking into the house on a cold, snowy day — opening up a jar to experience a little bit of summer.

    PS. The bruschetta looks lovely!

  9. I’d store away a bottle of sunlight to open when the days have grown the shortest. Plus all the summer fruit, yup, all of it. I’m not picking any favourites here ;) bruschetta is one of my favorite summer recipes, it’s so simple and with fresh summer tomatoes it tastes incredible!

    • Aren’t the tomatoes amazing right now? We can hardly keep up with our appetites for them! I need to start buying them by the box!

      I totally agree about storing away sunlight for short, dark days. I think that’s the hardest time of the year!

  10. I love bruschetta, but I haven’t made it in awhile. I’ve been in a rut with cooking, making the same things over and over. But now you’ve reminded me about bruschetta with your lovely recipe. I’ll have to try it! Celeste :)

    • It’s so easy to get in a rut, especially in the summer when there are so many more fun things to be doing outside. If you make the bruschetta, I hope that you enjoy it!

    • I’m sorry to hear that it’s getting cloudy there already! We’re having a heat wave here. It’s supposed to get up to 100 degrees. I’m hoping that we’ll have some more moderate temperatures to enjoy before fall hits.

      Thanks for the compliments on the bruschetta! I agree that summer makes for the best tasting fruits and vegetables by far!

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