Monday, April 27, 2009

How to Make Tomato Bruschetta Properly.

(And why I hate recipes . . .)

I love bruschetta. I was looking over a recipe yesterday, not to make bruschetta, but to see how they made it, and it hit me that most tomato based recipes for Italian food make one big mistake. They usually suggest using Roma tomatoes.

Here's my suggestion: Never use Roma tomatoes for anything. They have been so re-engineered that, at this point, they look good and taste terrible ( kind of like Episcopalians) ( okay that's a joke, don't send me nasty email).

Which then brought to mind the reason most (not all) recipes are unreliable. Because they make suggestions like the to one use Roma tomatoes; they equate cooking with alchemy, that is, if you mix certain ingredients and cook them a certain way, you can make gold out of lead. The opposite is true, get good ingredients, treat them right, and they are going to taste good. They'll love you back.

Anyway, if you want good bruschetta ,you need four ingredients definitely, and one optionally, all of which need to be fresh.

The following is not the recipe, but more importantly, the ingredients for the recipe:

1. Buy fresh tomatoes, preferably cherry because they are sweet. In the winter, buy quality, canned, diced tomatoes. Do not buy super market tomatoes from the produce department in the winter unless you are using them as display only.

2. Bread. Italian loaf preferably. It's chewy on the inside, the correct width, not tangy like sourdough, which I don't like for bruschetta, and toasts nicely. Most recipes suggest focaccio which, in my opinion, overwhelms the other flavors. The bread is the canvas not the painting.

3. Olive oil. Fresh. Virgin. If it has been sitting on your counter for six months it is not fresh.

4. Course-grain salt and fresh ground pepper.

5. Red onions. Optional, but I think they go nicely with the sweet tomatoes.

Here is their recipe, a good one, except I like the Italian loaf bread toasted both sides, lightly. And the bread cut about 1 - 1.5 inches thick. It should lightly crunch, but not like a crouton.


Rambler said...

I have a recipe for spaghetti carrettierra that I adapted to bruschetta once. It's one part onion sauted with fresh garlic to taste. Add two parts tomatoes (sorry, I do like Roma's, but there you go) and cook for awhile. Salt/pepper to taste. Toss in fresh basil just before serving. Options include a bit of red wine and/or crushed red pepper. Anyway, this mix goes nicely on toast, or you can toss it with cooked spaghetti and olive oil. It's a great meatless meal or add some cooked chicken or meatballs or whatever.

Francis Shivone said...

Anything that starts with onion and garlic sauteed is bound to be good.

But try some farm fresh or home grown tomatoes and you'll never go back to those androids called Romas.

Thanks, and yes that sounds good on toast.

Rambler said...

I have two Roma plants in the garden (plus an early girl and a better boy), so we'll see what a home-grown Roma is like.

I do agree : the store-bought Roma's have less flavor, but the firm meat serves some purposes.

Anonymous said...

Plum tomatoes are best for sauces but heirloom plums such as San Marzano beat a Roma any day. You can find them right now at farmer's markets. Buy lots, chop and freeze in bags for the winter or dry them in a vegetable dryer.