Food is a fun part of my life, but having friends to share it with is what really matters. Everyone has commitments, family responsibilities and jobs, so it’s rare that we can get the girls together for a few days all at the same time. However, we managed to do that at my friend’s house up in Santa Barbara the other day.
For our first night in Santa Barbara we decided to stay in and make a home-cooked meal. Earlier in the afternoon we had walked up to the farmer’s market on State Street in downtown, and purchased fresh produce for that evenings dinner. We literally spent hours perusing the vendor’s booths, marvelling at the beautiful array of fresh vegetables, artisanal breads and home-baked fruit pies. Everyone had a job to do in preparing the meal which really made this effort a good time. My friend Joni, who had her own restaurant in Palm Springs and has run many other high-profile restaurants in the past, was serving us her Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta.
The fresh ciabatta was perfectly grilled, and the heirloom tomatoes which had probably been picked that morning were full of flavor. I loved the dish so much, I decided to share it with you.
Joni’s Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta
5-6 medium to large Heirloom tomatoes cut in large dice*
handful of fresh basil leaves chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
fine sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
fresh Ciabatta loaf
olive oil for grilling
In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, basil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Dress with Balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Toss gently. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Allow the tomato mixture to sit at room temperature while grilling the ciabatta.
Cut the Ciabatta into 1″ thick slices. Lightly brush each side with olive oil and grill until well toasted on both sides.
*A serrated knife works best when slicing tomatoes.