June 2, 2010

Tomato Bruschetta

Posted in Culinary Explorations at 7:41 PM by goingbeyondzebra

For the past few days I have had a constant craving for a dish I had only seen, but never tasted.

Let me back up a bit. About a week ago I re-watched the movie Julie and Julia that is about Julia Childs and a modern day woman (Julie) who decided to cook through Julia’s cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year. While not my favorite movie, I LOVE seeing the different recipes displayed throughout the film and getting at least some glimpses of how they are made. One particular recipe decided to wedge itself into my mind this turn around, and it wasn’t even a recipe from Julia’s cookbook (which I should probably be thankful for).

Towards the beginning of the movie, the character Julie creates this scrumptious, yet seemingly simple dish consisting of what appears to be bread toasted/fried in a pan, topped with chopped vegetables of some sort. It looks and sounds delicious in the movie, so I decided to see if I could discover what it was. Thankfully, I know my way around imdb.com (a great website if you like to find out random info about movies like I do), and without too much effort, discovered there were others out there who had been struck with the desire to recreate this dish. Amidst the queries, a noble guide pointed us all towards what appears to me to be an article by someone who actually worked on the movie and the dish, who detailed how one would go about making it. I rejoiced! I had a craving that I could fix, and it actually looked easy! The name of this remarkable discovery? Tomato Brushetta, and the recipe can be found  here.

After I put everything together and took a bite, I thought I’d found heaven. Finally, a recipe that tasted exactly as, if not better than, expected! Unfortunately I did not have all the exact ingredients on hand, so I did what I often do best, and substituted! Would you like to know my version? Of course you would! So here it goes.

  • The only good bread I had on hand was white mountain bread. A lovely bread, but not quite as sturdy as I think it ought to be for this recipe. It still turned out delicious, but if I have the option, next time I think I’ll try to use something a bit stiffer.
  • Next, I did have plum tomatoes (yay my favorite! So nice to chop), which I thought the recipe specified to use, though apparently any tomato will do. However, I did not have any fresh basil on hand, so I substituted that for sage. I was a bit unsure about this replacement, but it turned out well (thankfully).
  • After that, I took some other researchers’ suggestions, and added a bit of pesto to the tomato-sage mixture. I then did as the recipe suggest: added some salt (I used a mixture of regular and kosher) and pepper. I then let the mixture sit while I dealt with the bread.
  • Instead of using olive oil, I again decided to take some suggestions, and also channel a bit of Julia, by using butter. I buttered both sides of each slice of bread, then dropped some extra butter in the pan. The only thing I don’t like about using butter instead of oil is that butter always seems to smoke a lot for me. Anyone know how to keep that from happening? I am open to suggestions!
  • Unfortunately, I also did not have any fresh garlic, but I did have minced garlic. So once I flipped the bread over, I rubbed some of the minced garlic on one side, letting some fall into the pan, and when the bread was just about done I flipped it back over for a few seconds to let the garlic settle in.
  • Finally, the bread was finished, so I topped it with the tomato mixture. Sounds wonderful right? But wait! There’s more…
  • Taking yet another suggestion, I grabbed some shredded mozzarella cheese, sprinkled it on top of each slice of bread, then stuck it in the microwave just long enough to get it to start to melt.

The result: AMAZING! And the whole process took maybe ten minutes at the most. I ate it for breakfast (I hear it goes great with coffee, but I didn’t feel like making any), and I think I am going to have it again tomorrow, it was that good. I also felt somewhat like I was embracing the Italian culture that I will soon be entering. While probably having absolutely nothing to do with Italy itself, it used ingredients which I usually associate with Italy (tomatoes, crusty bread, mozzarella cheese, pesto), and it kind of reminded me of a fresher, healthier, incredible version of pizza. So you know, that’s how my mind rolls.

Anyways! That’s my adventure for the day; I hope you enjoyed it and can find the time to try this recipe out for yourself. For now, I am signing off and wishing you all a happy Zebra of a day (or night)!



1 Comment »

  1. Sharon said,

    Mix a little oil with the butter to keep the butter from burning/smoking.

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