Bruschetta. No matter which way you say it, right or wrong, it’s still going to be some form of delicious toasty bread topped with colorful tomatoes.
So my idea for this was the fact that it’s still crazy humid outside, and I don’t exactly feel like coming home and hovering over a hot stove to make dinner. For this recipe, you do need to fry the bread on the stove, but it’s 100% necessary in order to get that golden brown crunchy toast we all love.
You know how I told you I get a lot of my inspiration from movies? Well this is another one. I first started making bruschetta years ago after seeing Julie and Julia in the theater with my grandma, aunt and little sister in Nashville. The movie combines the lives of blogger Julie Powell and Julia Child, TV cooking show host and author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Basically, Julie decides to give herself a year to cook her way through MtAoFC, and write a blog about each recipe. The cool thing about the movie is that while Julie is cooking these recipes, it takes us back to when Julia is getting this exact book published, and all the obstacles that came along with it. The movie is such an inspiration for me because they were both unsure about their purpose in life, but found comfort and passion in food.
I related to this movie at such a young age mostly because I love food and everything about it. I still find myself even more so relating to Julie in that I’m 25 (she was about 30 when she started the blog journey) and still not sure what I want to do with my life. I mean I love writing, but what kind of writing do I love? Is it PR? Is it writing articles like, “10 Ways to Blow Your Guy’s Mind in Bed” or whatever, or about the metal gig I attended last week?? Julie wanted to be a writer, so if she can be successful in doing so, why can’t I?
Well anyways back to the recipe. Early in the movie, Julie, played by Amy Adams, is frying bread in their tiny New York apartment. It then shows hers husband Eric (Chris Messina) quite literally DEVOUR the bread topped with tomatoes. It looked simple enough and damn delicious, so I figured I’d give it a go.
And for the record, I’ll totally eat anything with a tomato in it. STORYTIME. When I was a kid, I mean like a toddler, I’d sneak out of my grandparents house and find my way to their garden, where those little red juicy circles would be there just waiting for me to pick them off the vine. Then I’d cry and cry when someone came out to bring me back inside. Obviously I don’t remember any of this, but I do remember always loving the tangy taste of a tomato.
I know I’ve told you before how much I love Italian, and a staple in Italian cooking is basil. But uh…I don’t really like the stuff. You will never find basil in my kitchen. For some reason, I decided to add cilantro all those years ago. Don’t ask why, I just knew I liked it. And I’m so glad I did.
While we’re on the topic of nontraditional bruschetta ingredients, I’ll occasionally add cucumbers, feta, or mozzarella. It depends on what is in my kitchen and who i’m making it for. My foodie of a boyfriend loves to add tons of stuff to pretty much anything, if that makes sense. When he’s in the kitchen with me, for example, I put him in charge of the marinade if we need it. He’ll easily add every single bottle of stuff I have in my refrigerator door into the bowl. The last time we did this, it didn’t turn out so well. So FYI, do NOT use pickle juice for a steak marinade.
I really like to keep things simple and minimal, if possible. I love cheese, but the bruschetta doesn’t need it. Tomatoes, an herb, oil, salt and pepper is all you need, really.
As far as the kind of bread I use, I’ve tried it with several different kinds. And the one that never fails is the dollar French loaf from Walmart. It’s a big loaf so it holds the weight of the tomatoes and seems to fry in the pan just perfectly. And while we’re on the subject of bread, you NEED the clove of garlic rubbed on it as soon as it comes out of the pan. I’ve made it without the garlic and it’s just not the same.
It’s also difficult to tell you the amount of each ingredient you need because it can be eaten as an appetizer or a full meal.
Let’s get to it.
Not Your Basic Bruschetta
- One loaf of French bread, cut into six 1 inch slices
- 4-5 medium size tomatoes, cut into pieces
- One clove garlic, crushed
- Handful of cilantro, chopped
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Chop tomatoes into small pieces into a bowl. Add chopped cilantro, salt, pepper and olive oil to taste. Set aside.
- In a medium nonstick skillet over medium to medium high heat, add a few tablespoons of oil.
- Slice bread then coat each side with softened butter.
- Working in batches, add bread to hot oil and fry each side till golden brown and crunchy. Maybe 3-5 minutes on each side.
- While bread is still hot, rub the clove of garlic on each side.
- Spoon tomato mixture over each piece and serve immediately.