If I can take a moment to brag about my husband (and I will, as we just celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary), John grows a hell of a tomato. For the last couple of years, he’s planted heirlooms in our vegetable patch at the very beginning of the summer. Each year, the tomatoes are so good, they make me wonder if I have ever tasted such heavenly tomatoey-ness before. They’re juicy, sweet, yet firm and it’s all I can do not to make a BLT every day during our harvest season (late August through September.)
This dish was formulated out of resisting the BLT urge (I think I’d already made 2 that week, perhaps even in pasta form.) I also had some inspiration from 2 sources: one was the ready availability of leftover bread and cheese as well as fresh basil in my house, the other was, admittedly, Julie and Julia. Even though I wish that movie was solely about Julia and less about Julie, the one Julie scene that I really loved was when she was shown frying some bread for dinner and then she and her husband ravenously scarf them down, heaped with juicy, red ripe tomatoes. That single visual just conveys all the joyous savoring of culinary delights that mark a foodie.
That movie made me crave tomatoes on pan-fried toasts as well as to read Julia Child’s memoir, My Life In France. Let’s just say I’m deeply satisfied, having met both of those cravings!
- 2 slices of crusty day-old Artisan bread– your choice (I used Essential Baking Co.’s Columbia Loaf, a sturdy, pugliase type bread)
- 1 large heirloom tomato, sliced into 1/4″ thick rounds)
- 2 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4″ thick rounds
- 1 tbsp fresh basil, chiffonade
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil
Lay the tomato slices on a plate and sprinkle lightly with salt. This helps bring out the juiciness of the tomato while seasoning it at the same time. Heat a medium sized skillet over medium high heat. Cut your slices of bread in half, cross-wise, and liberally brush both sides of each slice with olive oil. Place the pieces of bread in the pan and fry for a few minutes on each side, watching the heat to make sure the bread doesn’t burn too badly. Take the garlic clove and rub the toast with it while the bread is hot. The rough surface of the bread and the heat help grate the garlic directly on the bread, but be forewarned about how delicious this smells! Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper then top each toast with a slice of cheese, your tomato slices, and finished with another slice of cheese. Sprinkle the basil around the toasts and devour!
CSA Garden Count: 2
Heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil