I love the burst of energy that comes with Indian Summer. The languid August heat breaks, winds pick up, and you sense that it all will end too soon, so grab as much of it as you can, while you can! That goes double for summer crops. Ripe summer tomatoes and bushes of fresh herbs aren’t around much longer, so make the most of them. Call in brushetta — a super healthy snacketizer that will make you feel like you’re sailing the Liguerian Coast.
We didn’t make it as far as Italy on Upward Wing today, but we did seek adventure! With friends, and a gracious host who is part owner, we passed under the Bay Bridge and anchored off the Baltimore Harbor Lighthouse. Mark picked us up in his skiff and we were up in the refurbished mid-century light for the afternoon. Be sure to check out aerial footage on our YouTube channel, here.
All that climbing around left us with a hungry crew, so these were devoured summarily on the return passage to Back Creek. A perfect late-summer day.
This is one of Galley Pirates’ posts that is more suggestive culinary guidance than recipe. Bruschetta is one of those things that everyone makes differently. The basics are toasted Italian or French bread, garlic, and fresh tomatoes and basil in a vinaigrette. Start by toasting your bread — first, slice it into about 1/2″ slices. I like to toast it lightly — you need some crustiness for the next step, but not toasting too deeply makes it easier biting!
While the bread is toasting, make your topping. I like some onion in mine — about 1/2 of a red onion is plenty. And the smaller the dice, the better…an ulu comes to the rescue again!
Mix the onion with two large ripe tomatoes, diced; a good handful of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped; a heavy pour of good olive oil; a lighter pour of vinegar — I like red wine for something this light, and to let the tomatoes and basil stand out, but balsamic is good too; and salt and pepper to taste. This is one of those times when “to taste” is everything. Get yourself a spoon and enjoy the Galley Pirate’s prerogative. Letting this sit for a few minutes will do it a lot of good, getting the onion and basil flavors into the vinaigrette, and all of it into the tomatoes.
When the bread is toasted, cut a garlic clove in half and use the cut edge to rub the tops of each piece of bread. This gives a nice garlic flavor to every bite without being overpowering, as it might if you diced the garlic into the tomato mixture.
Top each piece of bread with as much tomato mixture as you can heap upon it! Be sure to give your guests plenty of napkins to keep the olive oil off the teak decks.
Today I served these with slices of Italian Fontina, Provolone, and Parmesan cheeses to satisfy a hungry crew and compliment the acidic flavor. Mangiate, vi rilassiate, i pirati!