It was the end of the first day of moving and I HAD to take a break from unpacking. It had been a long day. A bath, glass of wine, and “nothing” was calling my name. My second instinct? A movie. A foodie movie. A quality foodie movie that I hadn’t seen in a very long time, AND, one that would inspire me to do more than just open boxes.
So, I chose “Julie & Julia”, a movie based on the book of the same name, by Julie Powell. In the opening scene, she is making Bruschetta for her husband. As he eats, he devours one piece after the other, as if it was ambrosia. Ever since seeing that, I have been thinking about tomatoes and the fact that it’s summer and well, the sweetest time of year for tomatoes.
In the spirit of all things “Julia”, and for my mom, I made the attempt last night. I found the freshest loaf of light and fluffy French bread and of course, yummy little sweet tomatoes. I served to my mother with a little Pinot Grigio and MANGIA! We were both in heaven. There were no words between us, but “yummy noises”, scraping up every bit that fell to our plates, as if every morsel was precious. Here is my version of Julie’s Bruschetta. It’s summer. Make this as soon as you can. It’s too hot to really eat, so make this at the end of a day when you’re feeling heavy and tired. It will make you feel grateful to love food. Share it with someone you really like.
Bruschetta a la Nan
3 large slices, about 1” thick (cut on the bias), light and fluffy fresh French bread
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (dark and rich)
1 whole garlic clove
½ pint of tiny sweet tomatoes (“Cherubs”), each one sliced in half
½ orange bell pepper, cut into 1/4” dice
white Balsamic vinegar (just a splash) – I prefer white for this recipe as you get flavor without richness of the dark version
3 large leaves fresh basil
salt & pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese shavings for garnish
In a large frying pan over medium heat, place enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the bread slices and fry until well-toasted. Remove from the pan to plates, cooked side up. Scrape the warm side with the clove of garlic (you can’t miss this step).
In the same large frying pan, add a little more olive oil (if necessary). Add the bell pepper and cook till softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about a minute. Add a splash of the white balsamic vinegar. Shake frying pan to blend and cook for about a minute, until the tomatoes start to soften and release juices. Turn off the heat, tear the basil leaves, throwing them into the tomato mixture. Toss one last time. With a large spoon, ladle over each piece of bread till all the mixture is used. Garnish with Parmesan cheese shavings.