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
An easy snack or appetizer that is simply fresh and delicious.
- 250 grams of cherry tomatoes
- 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp 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 big clove of garlic, halved
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 100 grams of fresh mozzarella
Preheat the oven to 200 C / 392 F on grill setting.
Cut each cherry tomato into halves or quarters.
Combine the cherry tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil in a mixing bowl. Let it sit aside. (Note 1)
Cut four 3 cm thick slices of bread at an angle and brush one side with olive oil.
Grill the bread on each side for roughly 3 – 4 minutes or until golden and crunchy. (Note 2)
Taste and season the tomato mixture to your liking with salt and pepper. If it needs more acidity, add more balsamic vinegar.
Take a garlic half and rub it against the side of the bread with the extra virgin olive oil. (Note 3)
Spoon the tomato mixture onto the bread and finish with chunks of fresh mozzarella. (Note 4)
- Season the tomato mixture only just before serving to avoid drawing moisture out of the tomatoes.
- Fresh bread will require longer grill time to develop crispiness and colour.
- Be careful not to over rub the garlic into the bread since it may be very strong. My tip is to first test out the potency of your garlic by trying it on a piece of toasted bread. Use this as a reference point to find the happy medium.
- To avoid soggy bread, carefully drain tomato mixture with a spoon against the side of the bowl before transferring to the toasted bread.