fall is definitely in the air, and the transition of seasons is becoming apparent at the farmer's market. amidst the fall vegetables, there is still summer produce yet. these beautiful heirloom tomatoes won't be around much longer. a perfect way to let their flavor stand out is with a simple preparation of heirloom tomato toast.
start out with a great crusty bread. my favorite loaf for this is a traditional San Francisco sourdough. slice it up, with approximately 1/2" thickness.
pick your favorite color heirloom tomatoes. red, yellow, green, and even purplish brown hues will all stand out at the table. gently cut the tomatoes into roughly 1/4" slices.
basil is up next. if your leaves are really small, you can leave them whole. for larger leaves, roughly rip them into smaller pieces.
toast your bread slices until they start to brown at the edges. take a raw garlic clove and rub it across one side of the toast. the garlic clove will start to diminish, almost like you are grating it along the toast's coarse surface. this step infuses the toast with a strong garlic flavor.
give the toasts a good drizzle of a quality extra virgin olive oil.
top with tomato slices and basil. for a seasoned touch, grind some fresh pepper and sea salt on top of the tomatoes.
there you have it. almost a non-recipe in its simplicity, but it is nonetheless a delicious and simple appetizer. should you be in the mood for something a bit fancier, you can jazz up with say, a scoop of fresh ricotta, some fresh shavings of parmesan cheese, or some capers.
an extra drizzle of olive oil on top is delicious, and feel free to switch the herb. as summer comes to an end, basil will not be as abundant. stock up now and then use a drizzle of pesto later.
heirloom tomato toast with garlic and basil
makes 4 appetizer servings
4 slices crusty, sourdough bread
1 large heirloom tomato, sliced in 1/4" slices
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 large basil leaves, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1. toast sourdough bread slices until the surface is no longer soft, and the edges are just beginning to brown.
2. take the garlic and rub the cloves along the top of the bread. it will almost be like you are grating the garlic onto the bread, as you will see the clove diminish. use about 1/2 clove per slice - more or less to your tastes.
3. drizzle the toast with the olive oil, and top with the sliced tomatoes.
4. garnish with the chopped basil, and salt and pepper to your tastes.
- to take it up a notch, try spooning fresh ricotta, parmesan, or capers over the toast.
- no fresh basil, but have some pesto stashed in the freezer? a drizzle of pesto would be a great stand in.