This is one of the easiest dishes you will ever make, you’re welcome.
Have you ever watched Julie and Julia? Meryl Streep, portrays the great, adorable, determined American cook Julia Childs, and Amy Adams plays Julie Powell a former writer who we find working in the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, helping individuals through the after-effects of 9/11. After reading a scathing article about her would-be literary potential, Julie sets herself the task of cooking every meal in Julia’s ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ in a year, and documenting the whole process in her cooking blog.
The whole film is filled with the highs and lows of cooking, trying new things and adapting to new environments. Out of all the food which is shown in this movie, and there is a lot, one of the most dishes which always caught my eye, was the tomato and basil bruschetta which Julie and her husband eat right at the beginning of the film when discussing her seemingly insurmountable project.
Basically, I decided to cook this rather than attempting to bone a duck. Can you blame me?
It was a Friday night, we were knackered beyond belief after a long week, so sitting down to watch Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, in front of bread, garlic and tomatoes covered in basil seemed like a better idea than going out into the city.
I do however, have one confession: I used a baguette ‘tradition’ instead of ciabatta. It turns out that France isn’t a fan of flooding grocery stores, boulangeries, or supermarkets with bread that is not their own. I really tried, even Lidl didn’t have ciabatta, Lidl! I sincerely apologise to any Italian readers, but in my defence, the definition of a bruschetta dish is grilled bread rubbed in garlic and olive oil, which I did so I’m hoping that my rule-breaking isn’t all that serious.
– 1 fresh baguette tradition (made from wheat flour, water, yeast, and common salt as opposed to a normal baguette which is made with baker’s yeast), cut in half lengthways, then into four-inch slices
– A huge handful of the most colourful, ripe, colourful tomatoes you can find, and then half them, quarter them, whatever’s easiest
– 3 cloves of garlic (no, I’m not kidding), finely slices, chopped, and smooshed into those baguette slices and if you have any left, leave to one side to be put into the tomato mixture
– A generous handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
– Sea salt
– Freshly ground black pepper
– Extra virgin olive oil, I won’t put a specific amount because you’re going to be drizzling that stuff left, right and centre
– In a bowl, combine your tomatoes with a lug of olive oil, pepper, a large pinch of salt, garlic, basil, mix, and cover. Leave to one side for about 20 minutes so that the salt can work on the acidity of the tomatoes to bring out the flavour.
– Heat a generous lug of olive oil in a large griddle pan and when it’s been swirled around enough times and it’s showing signs of smoking, place your baguette slices in, garlic side down, and keep an eye on each one being careful not to let them catch too much, and then place on a serving plate.
– Spoon over your tomato mixture and dig in. Boom.
This dish goes really well with a full-bodied glass of red wine. It should be an Italian wine but because I’m, like, a total rebel y’all I went for an Argentinian Malbec because damnit, France isn’t the only place in the world which makes fantastic red wine. I’m serious, get the good stuff, it’s a Friday night after all.