But then I began to garden. Everyone had tomatoes in their gardens, so I purchased and planted my first six pack of cherry tomatoes. I didn’t think I would eat a single one of them. My first tomato harvest was incredible, there were beautiful little red tomatoes everywhere! My mother, who was born and raised in Sicily, told me I should make bruschetta, a sweet and simple Italian tomato dish. Anything my mother makes is pretty incredible, so even though I did not enjoy eating raw tomatoes, I gave it a try.
I was an instant tomato convert.
The combination of sweet onion, fresh basil, and rich olive oil magically transformed the tomatoes into a whole new experience. I began to seek out heirloom tomato varieties and started including slices of tomato in my sandwiches and on my salads. Bruschetta (pronounced “Brew-sketta”) is a traditional Sicilian “antipasto,” a first course or appetizer to a meal. It is usually served on small slices of toasted bread, but I also like to serve it on salad greens. My mother says the secret to this bruschetta is to slice the onions thin, run them under water, and then squeeze them lightly in a cloth. This process softens the onions and creates a sweeter flavor.
Sweet And Simple Tomato Bruschetta (Heirloom Recipe From Sicily)
- 1/2 pound chopped ripe seasonal tomatoes, any kind you like
- 1 medium red onion, sliced and rinsed
- 4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 Tbsp fresh chopped mint
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
- to taste Salt and Pepper
1. Chop and lightly drain any excess water and seeds from the tomatoes.
2. Peel and finely slice the red onion. Place the onion slices in a metal colander and rinse with cold water. Drain and lightly squeeze the onions in a towel or cloth.
3. Combine tomatoes, onions, olive oil, and chopped herbs, stirring gently. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. To make classic bruschetta on bread, thinly slice a small loaf of artisan bread and lightly toast the slices in the oven. Scoop bruschetta on slices and serve while the bread is warm. If you prefer a carb light option, place bruschetta on your favorite salad greens for a delicious alternative to salad dressing.
Also by Angie: Potato Salad With Capers & Dill
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Photo: Angie Follensbee-Hall