I love the Downtown Farmer’s Market in Salt Lake City, Utah which led me to write a blog post about it a few years ago. Many farmers come in and sell their beautiful produce including heirloom tomatoes, which made me wonder what is an heirloom tomato anyway? I’ve always been curious so I did a little Google search and Wikipedia had this to say: “An heirloom tomato (also called heritage tomato in the UK) is an “open-pollinated (non-hybrid) heirloom cultivar of tomato”.
What does that mean? I have no idea…a little more digging…(not in the dirt, but on Wiki) and I uncovered this: “heirloom tomatoes are grown for a variety of reasons, such as historical interest, access to wider varieties and by people who wish to save seeds from year to year as well as for their taste, which is widely perceived to be better than modern tomatoes.”
I couldn’t agree more…they just seem sweeter and more luscious than regular tomatoes and as such, are a little more expensive. But alas, at the Farmer’s Market, they were calling to me and I decided it was well worth the $1.50 per pound. I knew immediately that they were destined for mouth-watering bruschetta! BTW, you can get heirloom tomatoes at Smith’s and Harmon’s on sale for about $2.50 for 8 ounces. Sometimes it’s just worth it…treat yourself!
I’ve been making bruschetta for years because I love it! Always a hit at parties, it seems complicated, but is actually quite simple. Fresh garlic, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar…it’s de-licious! Once I tried bruschetta at a restaurant in Italy and noticed they don’t bother with the balsamic vinegar…just quality olive oil, lots of salt and the wonderful natural taste of the tomatoes. Feel free to do whatever suits your fancy and preference.
This is the easiest recipe ever and in fact, it really isn’t a recipe at all. It’s more of a concoction that I put together based on my love of fresh food and personal taste buds to come back ~ which are very happy when I eat it by the way!
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes (any kind you prefer)
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- 4-5 large fresh basil leaves
- Splash of good olive oil
- Splash of good Balsamic vinegar (optional)*
- Salt and pepper to taste (ground sea salt and ground black pepper are best)
- Grated parmesan cheese
Chop tomatoes and put them in a bowl. Finely chop 1 clove of garlic and add it to the tomatoes. Then chop up some fresh basil; the easiest way to do this is to roll the leaves and slice. Then turn these sideways and cut the other direction until finely chopped. Or just do a rough chop if you like. Add olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
Slice a baguette either straight or slightly on the diagonal (more fancy). Place on a cookie sheet and broil on once side until lightly toasted. Then turn it over, brush with olive oil and broil the other side; be careful not to burn it! I made this batch with a whole wheat baguette.
After this step, simply spoon the tomato mixture on the olive oil side of the bread, sprinkle with a little parmesan and extra basil. Sit down, eat, smile and ENJOY!!!
*My absolute favorite Balsamic Vinegar is the ‘Antica Italia’ brand from Caputo’s Gourmet Food Market in Salt Lake City.
I used to grab a bottle whenever I came up from California to visit my parents. Now that I live here, it’s oh so easy to keep on hand! Reasonably priced, sweet and delicious, it’s well worth the trip downtown. And while you’re there have a meatball sandwich at their restaurant and enjoy Tony Caputo’s chocolates, cheeses, pastas, fresh fish and everything Italian they have to offer! By the way, this is the vinegar they use on the salads in their restaurant, which is how I discovered it all those years ago!
Did you know that tomatoes are very good for us? In fact, they are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. They are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. If I was you, I would eat more tomatoes starting with this bruschetta!