August 7, 2005

Pure Summer

Nothing says summer like vine-ripened tomatoes, and there is no better way to enjoy them than right off the plant and onto toasted Tuscan bread.

Most people think of bruschetta pronounced (brusKetta) as the chopped tomatoes marinated with basil and oil on bread which has been toasted and rubbed with raw garlic.

Here is Florence it is even easier, don’t chop the tomatoes.

We make Pane al Pomodoro, bread with tomatoes

Just cut the tomato in half width-wise exposing the seeds and rub on the toasted bread.
Season with sea salt and a drizzle of oil and your herb of choice.
I had some fresh oregano growing and grabbed that.

It is almost a Tomato Jam! The jelly like consistency of the seeds and the tomato are fabulous. Leave whatever bits of tomato that fall off the skin.

It is a favorite after-school snack for kids and adults alike.

Of course there are as many variations as there are people.

The basic simplese bread snack is Fettunta:
The toasted bread is rubbed with garlic and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and seasoned to taste with salt.

Tuscan bread, being unsalted, needs the salt which really brings out the garlic flavor!
Rub the garlic on gently as it is raw..and can be overpowering!

Topped with Tuscan white beans, it can be a bean bruschetta or if you add the bean broth and serve it in a bowl, it is a soup called Zuppa Lombarda.

In southern Italy it is served with chopped tomatoes,cucumbers, red onions with capers basil, olive oil and red wine vinegar and called Panzanella like the Tuscan Bread Salad with the same ingredients! There is no need to toast the bread, or if you do toast it, try it rubbed with garlic, then the tomato.

This would also be great then topped with some mozzarella, or fresh pecorino and broiled as a small crostini, which are always cooked in the oven like small bread based pizza’s.

For crostoni, my favorite snack food, large slices of untoasted bread are topped with various ingredients, marinated artichoke hearts, tiny cubes of ham, cheese in cubes, capers, whatever whimsy catches you.
Then drizzle generously with oil and broil until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted.

1 comment:

  1. One thing that literally drives me crazy are the freselle: hard-baked bread in a ring shape that you must soak (lightly) with water. Once soaked you can use them like any bruschetta bread. In summer they are wonderful, especially if you garnish them well in advance so that the juices of the tomatoes or whatever you are using soak the bread even more 8-9~