ever since i started reading food blogs when i began working 3.5 years ago (yikes!), i have been wanting to start my own blog. and i admit, as my dinner buddy teased me about yesterday, i wasn’t at all motivated until i saw the movie Julie & Julia. i watched it for the first time about a week ago with one of my best friends. while most parts of the movie were pretty boring, and i think i fell asleep a couple times, the parts when julie or julia cooked definitely kept my attention 🙂 the one thing that really caught my eye was the very simple tomato bruschetta (pronounced brus-Ketta, your fun food fact for the day!) that julie made in the beginning of the movie. such a simple thing that i usually make more complicated than it needs to be! my friend and i were going to eat salads for dinner last night and have this bruschetta as an app or side, but we were so full off of the fried bread and tomatoes that we ended up ditching the salads. and then i ordered pinkberry delivery.
instructionals and pictures are not really needed for this since its sooo darn easy, but hey, why not.
i usually make tomato bruschetta with oven toasted bread instead of fried. and i always added lots of garlic and parm and sometimes i even throw in some roasted red pepper pesto and chili flakes to the tomatoes. but i guess that’s the indian in me. this time i decided i would do it like the scene in the movie and make it very simply. i got the recipe from here. it’s the original recipe they used for the scene! i just made a few adjustments.
when making something simple like this tomato bruschetta, quality of ingredients is very important. this is not the time to use up the “oh… i think they’re still ok” tomatoes from the bottom of your vegetable drawer, save those for some indian food or something where they aren’t the star of the dish.
now with it being winter, and NOT tomato season at all, i had to compromise and use regular tomatoes instead of the heirloom that the recipe calls for. i got really pretty organic vine ripened tomatoes. just in case you don’t know how to pick good tomatoes, here you go!
you should look for 3 main things:
- No marks, dents, bruises or spots. any of these could mean faster rotting tomatoes.
- Fresh-looking, bright in color and not wrinkly
- Firm to the touch. squishy tomatoes are not good, but you also dont want them to be rocks.
i got lucky at whole foods and found perfect tomatoes. i probably should have taken a pic of them before i started chopping. sorry =/ i guess i got a little carried away. i also got a big bunch of basil, and some of iggy’s focaccia bread.
it was a bit pricey, but i guess it has to be for being sent in from cambridge. the recipe called for “a rustic loaf with a stretchy, hole-y interior and a crisp crust.” personally, i’m not a fan of the tough edges of normal french bread, so i rebelled and got the focaccia. its stretchy and hole-y on the inside, but the edges are much softer. i cut the slices about an inch thick.
back to the tomatoes. i chopped them into pretty large chunks, seeds and all. i’ve gotten into making food very rustic looking (because of my crush, tyler florence), so i like to just chop chop chop. threw it all into a bowl, added some good sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. please, try to use sea salt or kosher salt for this if you have it. you can use normal table salt, but it just isnt as good. also add a couple glugs of extra virgin olive oil. the good kind, so that u can taste the fruityness. finally, tear some basil leaves into the bowl, stir it up and let it sit while you prepare the bread. as per the recipe, if you are making this in advance, do not salt the tomatoes until about 30 minutes before serving. the salt releases juice from the tomatoes and while we do want that juice, we don’t want too much.
ok now back to the bread! heat a skillet over medium heat (you’re going to have to play with the heat, all pans and stoves are different) and coat it pretty heavily with olive oil. this is the way they did it in the movie, and this is the way i made it last night. if you want to be healthier and toast your bread in the oven, by all means, do so. you will need to brush a good amount of olive oil on the bread after, as well as a bit of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. if you’re going to fry the bread, just simply… fry the bread! i had to add more olive oil after every other piece as each slice soaked up good amount of the oil on the pan. but you want it to look like this –
after your bread is browned, while its still hot, take a garlic clove with the top cut off and rub it on the bread. a lot of people use this technique, and it always made me kind of sad bc i LOVE garlic and i would have wanted more. but surprisingly, it does work! i guess they do know what theyre talking about. the heat from the bread and the rough surface helps get little bits of garlic into the nooks and crannies. rub it lightly for less garlic flavor, more for more. then you can sprinkle a little bit of ground SS&P on top.
then, just top your garlicy, olive-oily fried bread with the tomato mixture and voilà! brusKetta à la julie & julia.
im sorry i dont have a picture of the final product. i thought i took one, but i guess we just got caught up in eating.