I’m Italian. Well, I’m American, but my grandparents immigrated here from Italy, so I’m Italian-American! I come from a long line of Italian cooks. So, it goes without saying that everything I do, I do with gusto! I was born this way!
Although I haven’t yet made the trip to Italy, I love reading and learning as much about Italian culture as I possibly can. It’s fascinating, really. The wine. The coffee. The food. The language. The love. The way of life. The simplicity. I can go on and on!
So what better time than at peak tomato season to share one of my absolute favorite recipes –Bruschetta al Pomodoro!
Bruschetta is an appetizer enjoyed by many Italians and the toppings vary by region. This is a very rustic version. Hand-crushing the tomatoes, rubbing a clove of garlic directly on the toasted bread, then drizzling the olive oil and grinding some coarse salt over the top. And then eating with your hands!
You will feel so Italian while you are making and eating this!
Patrick and I often enjoy bruschetta as a meal. It’s so simple, down-to-earth and full of flavor. There is something romantic about it. The beautiful red-pink color of the vine-ripened tomatoes. The sultry old-world, hands-on way of making it. The blissful sounds we make as we enjoy the sensual pleasures as the olive oil and tomatoes drip down our chins.
It’s a sensory delight! Smell, taste, sight, touch and hearing the mmmms and oohs as you take bite after bite!
There are a few key things to make Bruschetta al Pomodoro as luxurious as I’m making it out to be:
Fresh, in-season, homegrown tomatoes. You can purchase these at a farm stand or farmer’s market – if you don’t grown your own, that is! Make sure they are firm and super ripe! They should have a fresh tomato smell.
A robust extra virgin olive oil. One with a bold flavor and fruity scent. If in doubt, read the bottle. Sometimes it will state for dipping or drizzling. Get that!
Crusty bread from a bakery or homemade. Italian bread is best, but peasant bread is great, too. Ciabatta is another option. Bread that is crusty on the outside with nice air bubbles on the inside. Perfect for soaking up all of that tomato and olive oil goodness!
And it’s easy!
How to make Bruschetta al Pomodoro:
Slice the bread. With a good bread knife, if using a narrow loaf, like a baguette or Italian bread, slice it “on the bias” for more surface area. If using a round bread, you can cut straight across. Be sure not to slice too thin, 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick is good, you need it to stand up to the toppings. Then toast in the oven until golden brown.
Crush the Tomatoes. Roughly chop the tomatoes and place in a large bowl. This is where you will instantly become Italian – and dramatic! Using both hands, crush the tomatoes right in the bowl until they are broken down into small pieces. It feels so good, but you might need to rinse your hands immediately after to avoid stinging if you have small cuts! (But it’s worth it!)
Rub the bread with fresh garlic. Peel a garlic clove and rub one side of the toast. If the garlic is fresh, it will leave a slight paste on the surface of the toast. And it smells amazing!
Top your Bruschetta! Again, with your hands, press the tomatoes onto the top of each slice and move to a serving platter. Drizzle each slice generously with the olive oil, sprinkle or grind some coarse salt over it and top with fresh basil, if desired.
With only four ingredients, it’s easy to make any time and it’s an impressive appetizer for entertaining, too. We love it best as a midday meal or a light dinner with a nice glass of (Italian) wine!
I’m so happy to share this with you! Please let me know in the comments if you were inspired to take your own little private trip to Italy and make Bruschetta al Pomodoro! Tag me on Instagram, too!
Bruschetta al Pomodoro
- 1 loaf crusty Italian bread
- 2-3 large vine-ripened tomatoes
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- extra virgin olive oil
- coarse salt
- fresh basil optional
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet to toast the bread.
- Slice the bread, preferably at an angle. Place the slices on the pan and toast for about 5 minutes each side or until golden brown. Use a timer and watch closely so they do not burn.
- While the bread is toasting, roughly chop the tomatoes and place in a large bowl. Using your hands, crush the tomatoes right in the bowl until they are broken down into small pieces. (It's a good idea to rinse your hands quickly afterwards because the acid from the tomatoes might sting if you have cuts!)
- Peel the garlic and rub the garlic onto the top side of each slice of toast. If you do this while the bread is still warm the garlic will look creamy as you rub.
- Again, with your hands, top each slice of toast generously with the tomatoes pressing down a little so they don't topple off.
- Place each slice on a serving platter. Then drizzle olive oil over each bruschetta and sprinkle with coarse salt. Top with basil, if using.
- Enjoy immediately!