Our Ingredient of the month for July is tomatoes, so I’m squeezing this tomato post in just as we are about to flip the calendar to August (I know, deep breath, it is still summer!). There are so many things you can do with tomatoes. It was hard to choose what to make for this post. I settled in on two appetizers, Tomato Bruschetta, which is a classic and beloved by everyone everywhere; and Greek Salad on a Stick, which is a fun way to have the burst of Greek salad in one bite. By selecting these two appetizers, I was able to purchase beautiful heirloom tomatoes for the bruschetta and colorful cherry tomatoes for the Greek Salad (shown below).
On that note, I have nothing to add. What do you say about tomatoes in the summer? They speak for themselves. Here’s to summer, enjoy the warm sunny days!
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 crusty baguette (cut baguette into slices on the diagonal)
1 or 2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved (optional)
Chopped tomato topping (see recipe below)
Coat rimmed baking sheet with olive oil and set bread slices on top in a single layer. Brush the tops with a little more oil and set aside until you are ready to grill.
Light charcoal grill or turn on gas grill to medium high. Grill the bread slices until one side has dark grill marks or is deep golden brown all over and then turn to toast the other side. Watch out, as these puppies can burn quickly. As soon as the slices are done, rub the bread with the cut side of the garlic (if using). Add chopped tomato topping. Enjoy!
Chopped Tomato Topping
1.5 lbs. ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced into ¼-inch pieces
Pinch of cayenne
1 clove garlic, mashed into a paste with a pinch of salt (using a mortar and pestle or a knife)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 leafy sprigs basil, leaves picked and torn or roughly chopped
Season the tomatoes with salt and put them in a colander to drain for 10 minutes. Transfer the tomatoes to a bowl and fold in the cayenne, garlic paste, olive oil, and basil. Taste for seasoning and add salt or a pinch more cayenne if you would like.
Greek Salad on a Stick
1/4 English cucumber
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
¼ lb feta cheese cut into small cubes
6 pitted Kalamata olives, cut in half
8 ripe grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quarters depending on the size
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Cut four 1/2 inch thick slices from the cucumber then quarter each slice. Set the cucumber pieces on a platter and season with salt and pepper. Top each with a piece of feta cheese and an olive half. Stab a piece of tomato with a toothpick and then thread through one of the cucumber stacks, pushing the cucumber down to secure it. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with a little more black pepper and serve.
A party in your mouth!