I spent a ridiculously long amount of time mispronouncing “bruschetta.” I was a fan of “bruce-shet-a” or “brosh-etta” or “really fancy toast for summer time nonsense.” To be honest, I’m still a fan of the last one, but at least now I know how to pronounce it vaguely more correctly – bruce-ketta. But, you know, if you call this rose by any other name, it surely would taste as delicious.
When I close my eyes and imagine eating bruschetta, I imagine myself sitting at a glass and wrought iron table out on some patio with gray stone pavement. There’s some shade coming in from somewhere, but I do not choose to sit in it. Summer fruits, tomato included, burst with the warmth and sunshine that ripens them for months. The fruits become thicker, fatter, pulled taut to bursting. There is a glorious fullness about summer.
When I sit outside, I always aim for the sunniest seat. Bathed in the sun’s rays, I feel myself gain that same fullness I see in tomatoes. There is nothing so peaceful as laying head back, eyes closed, feet out totally enveloped by sun and heat and summer. The sun evaporates the barriers between me and the rest of the outside world and I begin to understand Emerson’s transparent eyes. It’s a feeling I wish I could bottle on those cold winter days where I so acutely feel my own skin.
Open trucks moving huge quantities of tomatoes across the highways near my town have started making their appearance. Soon, I’ll find spilled and rotting fruit on the shoulders and in the road, the fullness ripping open violently on asphalt. I’ll know that summer is over and winter is coming.
Unfortunately, without fresh tomatoes, bruschetta does little to remind me of summer on a cold day. Fortunately, with fresh tomatoes, bruschetta perfectly replicates that feeling. Here’s what you need:
2 pounds of the best tomatoes you can buy. I am spoiled by living near so many great farms, so when the heirlooms are on sale, I grab them up. Dice them.
3 cloves of garlic, minced up small
½ of a lovely, fragrant onion
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Handful of fresh basil, chopped up
Handful of chopped olives, if you’re feeling olive-y, but this is optional
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix that all up. Spoon it onto a fresh baguette that’s been sliced and toasted and painted with a little olive oil. I generally toast in the oven by getting the bread a little oily and putting it on a cookie sheet for about 5 minutes or so at 450 degrees. But if you have access to fancier toasting methods, go for that! Eat it immediately. Do not for a moment refrigerate those tomatoes if you can help it – that kills the sunshine magic.