Saturday, November 27, 2010

Stephanie's delicious Bruschetta

Most of the blogs I'm reading currently provide an abundance of hearty pumpkin recipes. (Side note: when will Australian supermarkets start stocking cans of puréed pumpkin? Seems like an excellent addition to various dishes (specifically my breakfast oats) and eliminates the need for all that chopping, cooking and mashing). I digress! Down Under, however, we're merely days away from Summer - three to be exact - and rather than pumpkin concoctions, it's time to enjoy some lighter, more refreshing meals. 

This morning, my beloved and I ventured to the Clayton farmers' market to get our hands on some locally grown produce. Although the market was small, there was a palpable abundance of colour.

I continue to marvel at the unadulterated, intense flavour of all of these goods. By comparison, supermarket produce is like eating textured water!

This morning, a number of things caught my eye - plump, ripe tomatoes; leafy, vibrant basil; locally grown garlic; red shallots; and crusty ciabatta. Instantly, I knew what I *had* to make - bruschetta. This recipe is a family favourite that I picked up from my mother during my undergraduate days - thanks Mum! 

Stephanie's delicious Bruschetta
Serves 2 as a main meal or 4-6 as an entrée (N.B. Mum's servings are generous!)

8-10 ripe tomatoes
1 Lebanese cucumber or half an English cucumber
1 red onion or shallot
2 cloves of garlic (please buy local garlic, the stuff imported from China is truly insipid!)
A generous handful of Italian basil
A dash of olive oil
Salt and pepper 
Goats cheese (optional)
Crusty ciabatta bread to serve

Dice tomatoes, onion and cucumber and add to a salad bowl. Pour any of the tomato juice into the bowl.
Shred basil and add to tomato mixture.
Crush garlic gloves into salad and add a quick drizzle of olive oil.
Generously season salad and stir gently. 
Refrigerate to allow flavours to intensify.

To serve:
Crumble goats cheese into salad and stir through (if desired - it adds a lovely creaminess and taste to the dish in my opinion).
Lightly toast ciabatta and top with tomato mix at the table.

Fresh, delicious, communal and for me, the essence of Summer!

Stay tuned tomorrow (or Monday if I've had one too many Cab Savs/beers) as I review our forthcoming six (yes six!) course Turkish banquet - I can't wait!

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