FRESH TOMATO BRUSCHETTA WITH BASIL
For years we have all been hooked on this light, meatless meal, especially for lunch. As an alternative to Italian bread, I sometimes use my own French baguettes-they make the cutest little rounds, instead of big slices. You can use whatever you have in your kitchen. In the summer we love to make these outside on our cook top grills, no need to turn on your ovens on these HOT summer days!
- 2 large hothouse or vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsly chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 loaf crusty Italian bread, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices(or my french baguettes)
- 2 whole garlic cloves, cut in half (optional)
- Olive oil. for brushing on the toasted bread
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Combine the tomatoes, oil, and basil in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Preheat the broiler to low broil and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. (broiling on a higher rack will broil the bread too fast.)
- Arrange the bread on a cookie sheet, place it under the broiler, and toast it on both sides to light brown. Watch closely so the bread doesn't burn.
- Remove the pan from the oven. Rub the cut side of the garlic, if using, over one side of each slice of bread. Brush a tiny amount of oil over each slice. Divide the tomato mixture and spread it evenly over the slices; sprinkle evenly with the cheese.
- Put the pan under the broiler and broil just until the cheese is melted and the tomato mixture is hot. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
- *Top each toast slice with one leaf of fresh basil, a thin slice of tomato, and a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan, mozzarella, or Cheddar cheese. Broil
- *Lay a trimmed spear of cooked asparagus on each bread slice before sprinkling on the cheese (my favorite!)