Does anything look more like summer than this collection of produce for my bruschetta? I think not. Basil, sweet peppers and roma tomatoes. It looks like a fresh harvest from my garden…except I don’t have a garden. My yard is covered in shadow most of the day, except for a bit right in the middle, and my kids would trample that in an instant. So until I have more land, with a patch of ground that gets more sunlight for my garden, and a bit of a place over there for the chickens, and that bit over there for the fruit trees. Oh! And don’t forget the little pond, and the horse stable…wait, what were we talking about? Oh yes, well I don’t have a garden yet so I will look at everyone else’s instagram pictures of their fresh homegrown produce, and just dream that my grocery store “harvest” was grown with the same love.
I don’t know when was the first time I made bruschetta, let a lone tried it. So I honestly don’t know where the inspiration for this recipe comes from. My oldest son, who is only 5, already calls me out when I call one of the kids by the wrong name, or use a wrong word.
“Mom,” he lectures “why are you always forgetting the words?”
But how do you explain to a 5 year old that it’s his fault, and his siblings fault, why I can’t remember anything.
Regardless of what I can and can’t remember, this is delicious. A sweet, bright, fresh mix of vegetables on toasted bread. For an extra layer of yum, I add a smear or dollop of goat cheese. The soft tangy cheese is a perfect accompaniment to the summer vegetables and crunchy bread. Make this for your next dinner party, or just for an after-the-kids-are-in-bed snack while tomatoes and basil are in season. I won’t tell if you eat the whole thing by yourself, cross my heart!
Roasted Pepper Bruschetta
8 Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
3 sweet bell peppers (any color other than green), roasted, peeled, seeded and diced*
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil, chiffinade or roughly chopped
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 loaf of crusty white bread, such as french or Italian, sliced
goat cheese (optional)
*You can buy already roasted and seeded red bell peppers from the store. They are either in a can or jar usually with the Italian foods in the international aisle.
Prepare your tomatoes. Cut an “X” on the bottom of each of your tomatoes, and place them into a large pot of boiling water. Allow to boil for 60-90 seconds. Remove from boiling water with a slotted spoon and place directly into a bowl of ice water, or run under cold tap water for a few minutes. Once the tomatoes are cool, remove them from the water, and peel the skin off. Cut into quarters, then using a small knife, cut the seeds out, and dice the remaining flesh.
Prepare your peppers. Preheat your oven to broil. Place on a baking tray covered with Aluminum foil. Place the tray on the top oven rack under the broiler. Allow to char until blistered and black. Carefully Turn peppers as needed, to get all the sides blistered and blackened. Once the peppers are all charred, seal them in a zip lock bag, and allow to cool. Once cool, remove the skins and seeds, and then dice your peppers.
To chiffinade basil, stack basil leaves on top of each other. Then roll them up long ways to form what looks like a little basil cigarette. Slice across the diameter of your cigarette and you have fancy little ribbons of basil.
You can also rough chop the leaves if you aren’t trying to impress any one, and it tastes just as good.
Place the basil, tomatoes, peppers, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and zest, and salt and pepper in a bowl and mix until all the ingredient are coated with the oil and lemon juice. Adjust seasonings as needed.
Store in the refrigerator in a air-tight container until ready to use. The bruschetta mixture can be made a day ahead, just make sure to drain any excess juices before serving.
Prepare the bread. Preheat the broiler. Place sliced bread on a baking sheet. Place the bread directly under the broiler until the bread starts to get brown and crispy. This shouldn’t take more than 1-2 minutes, so don’t look away or you may burn your bread. Flip the bread, and toast the other side using the broiler.
You can butter and grill your bread on a griddle, but this takes a long time to prepare a whole loaf that way so I just prefer to toast mine under the broiler all at once.
Serve your bruschetta and toast with a side of goat cheese if desired.. I most enjoy mine with a smeer of goat cheese under a healthy spoonful of bruschetta.