I had to really beg for this one. It is definitely one of the ways James seduced me when we were dating – this bruschetta is that good. Bruschetta is one of the many reasons I look forward to the summer tomato season. And when my nephew was asked what he was looking forward to at the beach, “Uncle James’s bruschetta and fishing” was his answer. This is best as an appetizer, but it is definitely not a stand-around one. You have to eat it sitting down; its just too messy.
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 – 5 tablespoons anchovy paste
1 ½ lbs. tomatoes (4 large) diced into ½ inch pieces
¼ to 1/3 cup olive oil
large handful of basil leaves, chopped
salt and pepper
large loaf of “crusty” bread – sourdough baguette or ciabatta is nice
a few cloves of garlic, peeled (optional)
8 oz. fresh mozzarella (optional), sliced
In a small bowl, whisk together anchovy paste and vinegar. Combine this with the tomatoes, basil and olive oil in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for a half hour (or more) to let the flavors combine.
Slice the bread, on the diagonal. Brush with olive oil and toast or grill. When just cool enough to handle, scrub both sides of the each piece of toast with garlic clove.
On a serving platter or individual plates, spoon the tomato mixture over each piece of toast. Top with the cheese, if using, and garnish with additional basil if you’re feeling fancy.