If you grow your own tomatoes, you’ll be ready to enjoy this simple, delicious summer treat as your vines start bursting with sun-ripened crimson goodness!
Otherwise, head to your nearest farmers market to pick up some fresh, ripe tomatoes – leave them somewhere warm for a few days to get as flavoursome as possible. Try to find tomatoes that have been vine-ripened.
Always store tomatoes at room temperature, for example, in your fruit bowl. Refrigeration diminishes their rich flavour.
Enjoy raw tomatoes for their vitamin content and cooked tomatoes to enhance bio-availability of key nutrients such as health-promoting lycopene.
Tomatoes are a true super-food. They are considered a “functional food” – providing more than just basic nutrition as they have important healing properties:
Tomato originates in South America, along with its nightshade cousins eggplant, potato and tobacco. Due to its association with deadly nightshade (belladonna) as well as the European aristocracy’s habit of eating acidic tomatoes on lead-based pewter plates and then getting seriously ill, the tomato was regarded with suspicion for several hundred years in Europe. The British were happy to grow it as an ornamental plant, but it wasn’t until the 1800s that the tomato began finding its place on European tables. Although originating in South America, culinary use of tomatoes in the United States only happened due to the imported habits of Europeans!
Basic bruschetta is toasted, garlic-rubbed, oil-drizzed bread. Tomato and basil topping is a popular variation on this simple, timeless classic.
Of course, you can use gluten-free bread if needed, or simply enjoy the tomato and basil as a side dish.
Thick slices of rustic bread (pane casereccio if you can get it)
An unpeeled clove of garlic, cut in half
Good quality fruity olive oil
Good quality salt
Toast the bread under the griller or over a flame.
Rub the toast with a clove of garlic while it’s still hot. As the garlic softens, gently squeeze the juice into the bread.
Give each slice a generous drizzle of olive oil and then salt to taste.
4 very ripe medium tomatoes, seeds removed, cut into rough chunks
Fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces (a handful or two)
Salt and pepper
Mix tomato, basil and a generous drizzle of oil and then season to taste.
Place on the toast just prior to serving.