Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes! They are here, they are in season, and they deserve to be served in delicious dishes. I have a super simple recipe for bruschetta with tomatoes confit that is a perfect summer appetizer.
Most bruschetta and crostini recipes use crusty grilled or baked bread, but the chewy texture of fresh focaccia actually works better with this dish: it’s a light bread that serves as a beautiful canvas for those delicious, slow-cooked, sweet tomatoes.
Bruschetta with Tomatoes Confit, Pesto and Mozzarella
You will need:
1 loaf of fresh focaccia
1 lb cherry or grape tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
fresh mozzarella (1 ball)
1/4 cup pesto
1. In a small sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Throw in the shallots and cook until translucent, then salt them.
2. Throw in your tomatoes. Let them cook over medium-high heat for about five minutes, making sure to stir and coat the tomatoes in the shallots/olive oil. The tomatoes should be half-submerged in olive oil, so feel free to add some more oil if necessary.
3. After one or two of the tomatoes burst, cover the pan and lower the heat to low-medium. Cooked, covered, for about 20 minutes, watching to make sure that the shallots don’t burn. You want your tomatoes to shrivel and become sweet, and low, slow cooking is necessary for this process.
4. While your tomatoes are cooking, make your pesto (or… open the jar, hehe), cut your mozzarella into slices, and cut the focaccia into strips.
5. Once the tomatoes are done and cooling, layer each slice of focaccia with mozzarella, then drizzle some pesto, then add a few tomatoes and a bit of the tasty olive oil the tomatoes were cooking in. Top with some fresh mozzarella and serve immediately.
“Sediments” on the dish:
As I said before, I think focaccia is the best bread for this dish, but honestly, any soft bread will do, and you can lightly grill it if you would like. If using a salted bread like focaccia, you will need less salt to finish the dish.
The key to this dish is the slowly cooked, sweet tomatoes. You could make this dish with medium to large tomatoes as well, but the cooking time is much quicker with these little tomatoes (and their sugar content is so high that they turn into sweet, delicious toppings for the bread!).
You can always make you own pesto. Truth be told, I would have… but when traveling, things like mortars and pestles are not always readily available. Thankfully, I purchased this fresh pesto from Liguria, Italy, where pesto was invented. If there is anywhere that you can get away with pre-made pesto… it’s here! 🙂 But I promise I won’t tell on you if you use pre-made pesto.
Suggested wine pairings
A light, dry white wine is perfect with this dish: a Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Orvieto, Grechetto, Torrontes, or even a sparkling Prosecco. I would stay away from big, butter Chardonnays (the sweetness of the wine and the sweetness of the tomatoes is a bit too much, and the wine overpowers the more subtle flavor of the creamy mozzarella).
If pairing with a red wine, make sure that it is a lighter, younger varietal, like a Rosso di Montepulciano. But if possible, stick with white wine: the dish has subtle flavors that tannins might dull.