I first had a bruschetta like this in one of the most idyllic of the countless idyllic medieval hill towns in Tuscany, San Gimignano. It was a really hot day and we didn’t feel like a full lunch, so we chose this as a snack (followed by gelato, I believe), and it was one of the most memorable snacks I’ve ever had.
Like so much Italian food, the success of this is all about the quality of the ingredients. Don’t make this from supermarket tomatoes in June – don’t make this from supermarket tomatoes at all! The tomatoes have to be perfectly ripe and in season, and not the types that have had the character bred out of them – pick old varieties that are full of flavour. Buy the best anchovies you can afford and use the freshest peppery extra-virgin olive oil. With the right produce, the final trick is to toast the bread really well and cut the tomatoes on the toast to catch the delicious juices.
6 slices of sourdough bread, sliced 2 cm thick on an angle
2 large garlic cloves
peppery extra-virgin olive oil
3 large oxheart tomatoes (or other full-flavoured tomatoes)
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
80 g parmigiano reggiano, shaved (you might not need all of this, but it is easier to shave from a larger piece)
1 handful of basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 160°C fan-forced.
Place the bread on baking trays and bake for about 25 minutes until well toasted.
Rub the toasted bread all over with the garlic and drizzle with oil.
Cut the tomatoes in thick slices directly on top of the toast to catch the juices. Mash and press the tomato into the toast and season with salt and pepper, then top with the anchovies, parmigiano reggiano and basil and pour over a good drizzle of oil. Serve immediately.
Recipes extracted from Salads & Vegetables by Karen Martini. Available now, Plum, RRP $39.99. You can buy the book here.
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