Cynthia Ferris-Bennett: Take some tomatoes and enjoy some bruschetta (recipe)

Cynthia Ferris-Bennett’s bruschetta recipe.

One of the first fabulous signs that farmers market season is upon us is the tomato!
The tomato is considered a fruit, yes a fruit… but why? A botanical fruit would have at least one seed and grow from the flower of the plant. With this definition in mind, tomatoes are classified as fruits because they contain seeds and grow from the flower of the tomato plant.
Whether you think of tomatoes as a vegetable or a fruit, I believe we can all agree that a fresh vine ripened tomato from your garden or just picked from the farm is a culinary memory you will always fondly remember.
Bruschetta (pronounced “broo ske ta”) is one of the tastiest and most versatile fresh tomato recipe toppings. Traditionally you would serve this tomato topping on a grilled Crostini, but it’s also been known to top my grilled salmon and tossed into my favorite fresh fettuccine pasta. Be sure to use a variety of tomatoes for taste, texture and color.

2 pounds tomatoes (Heirloom, San Marzano, Roma, Kumato, Yellow Pear)
4 ounces fresh basil leaves (stems removed), very thinly sliced, chiffonade
2 cloves of fresh garlic, finely chopped
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste
Spray oil – preferably EVOO
Baguette – ½ inch slices
Grated parmesan cheese
Balsamic reduction glaze
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the baguette slices in a single layer, spray with EVOO and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake until lightly toasted, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Slice the basil: Pile a few basil leaves and roll tightly. Cut thin, round slices, place them in the bowl of the mixer. Reserve a few slices of basil for garnish.
Garlic: Use a garlic press to finely chop the garlic cloves. Place in a mixing bowl.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the tomatoes until the skin begins to blister and open. Please note that it is best to blanch in multiple batches if using different sizes of tomatoes for even blanching. Once the skin has been removed, cut the tomatoes into slices to remove the seeds. Roughly chop all the tomatoes and place them in a mixing bowl to cool.
Add the EVOO and mix all the ingredients well. Allow the flavors to blend for about 30 minutes.
Place the toasted crostini on your favorite platter. Stir the bruschetta mixture one last time. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the bruschetta mixture over each crostini. Once all the crostini have the bruschetta mixture, sprinkle the parmesan shavings and top all the crostini with a generous drizzle of balsamic glaze. Sprinkle over the remaining basil chiffonade and you are ready to serve… Mangia!
The Sierra Chef Farmers Market begins Wednesday, May 18 and runs every Wednesday through September 18 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Heritage Park, 1447 Courthouse St., Gardnerville. Fresh produce, eggs, baked goods, deli meats, gourmet pantry, knife sharpening, kids activities, self-care, crafty items and more. If you are interested in becoming a vendor or would like more information about the Sierra Chef Farmer’s Market, call Sierra Chef at 775-392-4417 or email [email protected]

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