Tomato Basil Bruschetta
1 32 oz can of whole tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread
1/4 cup olive oil
**Optional – 1-2 cups of small cubed buffalo mozzarella cheese
Make sure there is a top rack in place in your oven. Preheat oven to 450°F.
To prepare the tomatoes, drain and cut them in halves or quarters and remove the seeds and juice from their centers and then chop the tomatoes finely. Put tomatoes, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, vinegar in a bowl and mix. Add the chopped basil and salt and pepper to taste. You may leave this chunky mixture as is, or blend it in a processor for just a few seconds – still leaving it with texture. Add the cubed cheese if going that route and mix (the cheese makes this more of a “Caprese”).
Slice the baguette on a diagonal about 1/2 inch thick slices. Coat one side of each slice with olive oil using a pastry brush. Place on a cooking sheet, olive oil side down. You will want to toast them in the top rack in your oven, so you may need to do these in batches depending on the size of your oven. Place a tray of bread slices in the oven on the top rack. Toast until the bread just begins to turn golden brown (** You can also toast the baguette slices on a griddle). Once you’ve removed the bread from the oven, working quickly, rub the remaining garlic clove on the toasted side of each slice.
Align the bread on a serving platter, olive oil side up. Either place the tomato topping in a bowl separately with a spoon for people to serve themselves over the bread, or place some topping on each slice of bread and serve. If you top each slice with the tomatoes, do so right before serving or the bread may get soggy. Recipe yields 24 small slices. Mangia Mangia!