This time of year in Australia, tomatoes are abundant. Whether you grow your own or shop for them at your local fruit and vegetable market, tomatoes are in their prime in the summertime making this the best time to make the most of their sweet flavour.
It just so happens that basil is also in its prime in summer. Not only are they perfect companions in the garden (plant them next to one another for a great crop), their flavour compliments one another on your plate too.
So I use my abundant crops of tomatoes to bake with my carpet of oregano (and also in-season garlic) and make a roast tomato sauce which I jar and freeze to use as the base of another meal. Another summertime staple and family favourites are a Tomato and Basil Bruschetta. It’s quick and simple to make and it’s just so flavoursome.
Tomatoes are a rich source of the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is a wonderful antioxidant, important for cardiovascular and bone health. Basil has exhibited protective effects against DNA damage, is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. Like tomatoes, it also contains cardio-protective nutrients.
Take a look at the variations (below the main recipe) for suggestions to alter the recipe to suit many specific dietary requirements.
- 5-6 large vine ripen tomatoes, at room temperature is when they are most flavoursome
- ½ cup basil, leaves picked from stems and torn or finely chopped (preferably with a ceramic knife so they don't oxidise or blacken)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 pieces organic sourdough or a sprouted loaf (or my grain and gluten-free Breakfast Bread)
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled
Halve your tomatoes lengthways and remove most of the seeds with a spoon.
- With the flat side down, dice the tomatoes (approx. 1cm dice), with a sharp or serrated knife as you don't want to mush the tomatoes and place in a large bowl.
- Tear or finely dice your basil leaves and add to the tomatoes.
- Stir in the olive oil, vinegar and season well. Set aside.
- Heat a char-grill on your stovetop or BBQ.
- Drizzle a little olive oil over one side of the bread and rub all over.
- Place on the hot char and toast both sides.
Now rub your garlic clove over the oiled side of the charred bread. This gives it an amazing garlic flavour (you're actually just making garlic bread). How much you rub on depends on how much you like garlic.
- Spoon the tomato salsa over the charred bread, making sure each piece also has a little drizzle of the juice.
- Serve immediately.
Grain- free (and meaty)
This is delicious as a salsa over a thin slice of beef fillet, grilled fish or chicken to replace the bread.
Use a gluten-free bread.
This is delicious with shaved parmesan or buffalo mozzarella.