I know, I know, bruschetta is not by any means classifiable as a “baked good,” but I was so proud of my resourcefulness and daring nerve to try cooking something decidedly non-Japanese that I had to write about it. And in all honesty, it’s a notable achievement when I cook something worthwhile, because usually I’m so wrapped up in a baking project or incessantly reading recipes to inspire my next one, that often I find I haven’t a clue what I’m going to do about dinner when 5:00 comes around.
Back in the blissful, unhurried days of summer with Mr. Baker, I could always count on his incredible quick-thinking in the kitchen after a whole day neglecting plans for dinner in lieu of baking a strawberry tart. He continually amazes me with on-the-spot ideas for dinner like curried chicken and rice with dollops of ricotta, sauteed tilapia and veggie-filled pita pockets, or homemade pizza with huge slices of ripe tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil. It goes to show how much like two peas in a pod we are: me, the precise, perfectionist baker, and he a natural with paring knife and grill.
As it was on Sunday, however, I was without the saving grace of the wonderful Mr. Baker and his cooking ingenuity. My very wonderful friend from work had just left after a lovely afternoon coffee and chat, and she had brought me a handful of her family’s home-grown basil. I was so thrilled to have my hands on a fresh herb that I vowed to make something basil-y that very day. And after a week of rice, eggplant, and mushroom dishes, I was craving something a little closer to home in flavor, texture, and color. Although pesto was out of the question, to me basil is never better than with the rich, full flavor of olive oil and garlic. A quick run to the store, and before long I was back with an armful: a french baguette, shredded mozzarella, and ripe tomatoes. My plan: to create something somewhere in between a margherita-pizza-on-toast and bruschetta.
The result was a delightful dinner of garlic-y toasted bread slices, covered in a savory, salty blend of tomatoes, olive oil, and basil, with a touch of melted mozzarella to hold it all together. A very satisfying way to make use of a gift of basil, and a pleasant respite from baking all day :)