From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...The shelves and bins at our local markets are starting to sag and bulge under the weight of produce coming from nearby farms. Peppers, especially the sweet green ones, have heard the biblical injunction to be fruitful and multiply, and there are more of them available than can ever be consumed. I suspect the excess will soon join overripe blackberries as fodder for local compost heaps. We have melons galore and corn, which is so problematic in other areas of the country, is plentiful here. Early apples are starting to come in and peaches, now in their prime, are picked daily and make their way to freezers and canning kettles throughout the county. Tomatoes are slow this year, but local heirlooms have arrived and boxes of plum tomatoes can be found if you are willing to expand your definition of what "local" means. Those in the markets, whatever their origin, are blood red, sweetly fragrant and ready to be put-by. This is also the time of year to enjoy all those dishes whose flavor is dependent on summer tomatoes. Several years ago, I found the recipe I'm featuring tonight in The River Cafe Classic Italian Cookbook by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers. It has become my go-to crostini recipe and I use it a lot at this time of year. While the crostini are simple to make, they are truly delicious and the recipe is a perfect addition to this week's collection of simple, scrumptious dishes. I know most of you can make crostini with your eyes closed, but I do hope you'll give this version a try. It is really special. If you use seasonally ripe tomatoes, fresh basil and good bread, you are in for a real taste treat. Here's the recipe.
Tomato Crostini...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of The River Cafe Classic Italian Cookbook and an original recipe by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored, halved, seeded, chopped into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3 garlic cloves, 2 minced, 1 halved
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive plus more for drizzling
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 loaf ciabatta or baguette, cut on a diagonal into 1/3" pieces, toasted or grilled
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1) Combine tomatoes and minced garlic in a large bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil and vinegar; toss to mix well. Cover and let tomatoes marinate at room temperature, stirring occasionally, for 2–3 hours to allow flavors to develop.
2) Rub one side of toasted bread with cut sides of remaining garlic clove; drizzle bread with oil and cut in half crosswise. Add basil to tomato mixture in bowl and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange crostini on a platter. Spoon some tomato mixture on top of each crostini.
One Year Ago Today: Pasta with Bread Crumbs and Herbed Tomatoes
Two Years Ago Today: Mexican Rice
Three Years Ago Today: Biscotti Regina