Fall is my favorite time of the year! I love everything about it!! In Michigan the weather gets cool and crisp, and the leaves start changing colors. The cider mills open up providing a dose of good old fashioned comfort food – apple pie, warm doughnuts and fresh apple cider. It’s just so wonderful! It’s also time for the fall harvest – the last chance to get ripe juicy tomatoes before the first frost rolls in. It’s the perfect time to make tomato based dishes like roasted tomato pasta sauce, panzanella salad, and bruschetta, just to name a few.
Last week Randy and I went to our local farmer’s market in Royal Oak to check out the tomatoes. We have one vendor/farmer who grows the most wonderful heirloom tomatoes. They are not certified organic, but they’re grown without pesticides and they’re fertilized by his goats. I’m pretty particular about getting organic, but these are close enough for me. The tomatoes were glorious! So many varieties – Abe Lincoln, Brandy Wine, Bonnie Best, Kentucky Beefsteak, Nagoya, Orange Strawberry, Evergreen, and my favorite – Green Zebra.
We collected a variety of these beauties and made Bruschetta. Bruschetta is absolutely wonderful and it’s so easy to make. The key is ripe juicy tomatoes, wonderful Italian bread, a great olive oil, an aged balsamic and Parmegiano – Reggiano. I always say simple food is the best, but you need to use the best ingredients.
Cut the Tomatoes in medium sized chunks and place into a bowl. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Toss and it’s ready to go.
I always get a fresh bread from the Italian Bakery. Slice it into thick pieces and brush it with Extra Virgin Olive oil. Place it on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake it in a 350 oven for 8 minutes or until it get’s a touch of color. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t get over cooked. Once it comes out of the oven and it’s just cool enough to touch, take a fresh clove(s) of garlic and rub the top of each piece. The garlic will just melt right into the bread.
Now it’s time to plate the bread. Top each piece with the tomato mixture and drizzle a little of the dressing over the top. Sprinkle a little grated Parmigiano – Reggiano over the top. Now top each piece with a chiffonade of fresh basil and top it off with chards of Parmigiano – Reggiano or Grana cheese. Done! Eat and enjoy!!!