Warm tomatoes kissed with the sun epitomize summer for me. I love seasonal tomatoes so much that I won’t eat them any other time of the year and when I do…I want them to shine. Favorites include this tomato pie and this salad with mozzarella, tomato, avocado and pine nuts. Still, I think this simple dish is my favorite. There is nothing fussy, simply some warm, crusty bread topped with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes that are dressed with a touch of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs and salt and pepper.
I grew up in the Midwest, in a suburb of St. Louis. Where a shovel meeting dirt resulted in something I never appreciated until I left. Warm, brown, magical dirt. Where tomatoes grew that fit the palm of your hand and a tomato sandwich with salt and mayonnaise were all you needed. I appreciate those tomatoes the most now that they are simply the stuff of legends for me. Denver’s soil is filled with clay and needs to be hugely amended to be fit for planting anything but beyond that? Our altitude, the late seasonal planting date and the cool nights simply are not conducive to tomatoes like Missouri was…so I often find that cherry tomatoes are my favorite and I loved the two colors that I found at this past weekend’s farmers market. Cute, colorful and tasty; perfect for this bruschetta.
Do you remember the first time you had olive oil? I do…and I did not like it either. Much like my first experience with butter after growing up with margarine; it took some getting used to. Well, I’m beyond used to it now and love it and this dish (call it an appetizer or lunch or even for me…dinner) calls for good olive oil. Actually in its’ simplicity it calls for good everything; fresh mozzarella (not shredded), fresh herbs and a gorgeous loaf of Tuscan boule combine with the star of the show, the best tomatoes. I’ve convinced myself if not you; I need this again!
Eating Gluten Free? My friend Jenn made this loaf of Gluten Free boule…just for you! :)
- 6-8 slices of good crusty Italian bread
- 8 oz of fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
- 16 oz of fresh tomatoes - I had cherry tomatoes and they were perfect cut in half
- Olive Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Leaves from either oregano or basil, chopped
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Slice cherry tomatoes in half or if using larger tomatoes, chop then into good size chunks and let them drain. Drizzle with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar and gently toss them to coat.
- Slice the bread and lay the slices on a cookie sheet (or two if necessary)
- Brush the top with olive oil and bake for approximately 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Layer the slices of mozzarella on top of each slice of bread, top with the tomatoes and return the bread to the oven for 2-3 minutes to warm the tomatoes and soften the cheese.
- Remove from oven; drizzle with more olive oil, top with herb(s) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Best served with the absolute best tomatoes you can find.