I was first introduced to bruschetta many years ago when I was still in uni. Steph and I were at an Italian restaurant for dinner one night. We usually just ordered mains to keep costs down, since I was a typical student with no money and Steph was saving for a car. However, on this occasion we both decided to live a little and order entrees!
For my entree I ordered bruschetta, not because I was overly excited about the description of the dish but because I wasn’t familiar with the name. Obviously, my first attempt at the pronunciation was incorrect. It was like the first time anyone tries to pronounce epitome. No one gets it right the first time, unless you have asked for the origin, Latin meaning and permission to phone a cultured friend.
When our starters came, I had mentally prepared for the dish and kept my expectations low. It’s not because I thought the dish was going to taste bad, but honestly how good can tomato and bread be? Let’s say my first bite was unexpected. I would compare that moment to doing something mundane like the laundry and finding a $20 note in you jeans pocket. It is surprising and most of all uplifting! How could something so simple taste so good? The burst of flavour from the ripe tomatoes, the freshness of the basil served on crispy bread had completely transformed ordinary ingredients into something much more spectacular. That night I learnt 2 very valuable life lessons:
- Simple dishes done well can taste absolutely amazing.
- Try to take small bites when eating bruschetta, because the crispy bread can really destroy the inside of your mouth!
I now regularly make this version of bruschetta for my family and friends. It is such an easy, stress free entree for a dinner party or a great snack when your bread is going stale. Some of you may be thinking this is not a typical bruschetta because of the cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. I honestly recommend using cherry tomatoes in this dish as opposed to the usual Roma tomatoes. This is because I find cherry tomatoes are consistently sweeter and generally have better flavour. However, this is all a matter of opinion! The fresh mozzarella is just a perfect creamy addition that ties everything together. So, authentic or not, give this recipe a try and tell me what you think.
Cherry Tomato Bruschetta with Fresh Mozzarella
- 250 g of cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 8 basil leaves torn
- 1 Pane di Casa or Ciabatta loaf (preferable 2-3 days old)
- Extra virgin olive oil for brushing
- 1 clove of garlic, halved
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 100 g of fresh mozzarella
- Preheat the oven to 200 C on grill setting.
- Slice the cherry tomatoes.
- Combine the cherry tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and basil leaves into a mixing bowl.
- Cut the bread at an angle into roughly 2 cm thick slices.
- Brush one side of the bread slices with olive oil and grill each side for roughly 3 – 4 minutes or until crunchy.
- Take each toasted slice and rub the garlic against the side brushed with extra virgin olive oil.
- Taste the tomato mixture for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
- Spoon the tomato mixture onto the garlic rubbed side of the toasted slices.
- Finish each bruschetta with chunks of fresh mozzarella.
- Fresh bread will work but will require longer grill time for crispiness and crunch.
- Season the tomato mixture right before serving to avoid drawing moisture out of the tomatoes.
- Be careful not to over rub the garlic into the bread. This can give people a unexpected surprise if you have a really potent batch of garlic. My tip is to first try on a piece of toasted bread and taste test. Use this as a reference point for all your other bruschetta.
- To avoid soggy bread, carefully drain tomato mixture with a spoon against the side of the bowl before transferring to the toasted bread.