Food for thought

(May 31, 2019) The process of education encourages the asking of questions and the understanding of how these uncertainties have come about.

These conceptual inquiries are much more valuable and impressionable than attaining the state of absolute conclusion without effort.

It can be argued that invoking a sense of exploration encourages further research which induces contemplation to the fullest degree. There is no limit to progression and that is why perseverance is the secret ingredient for attainment.

But sometimes it is necessary to take a step back if clarity is to come to the forefront. With that thought in mind, let us take a closer look at one of the most misinterpreted dishes that delights our taste buds with such whimsical fancy.

If you guessed bruschetta, you are correct.

Meticulous attention to detail is not based on pretentious attitude, but rather a need to seek perfection.

In Italian, the consonant “ch” has a hard “k” sound, not a soft “sh” sound. If one should succumb to this improper way of speech, you will be pardoned, but it does not change the fact that it is incorrect.

I do not mean to convey a sense of discernment, but it is not just the pronunciation that has taken on a degree of confusion but also the true identity of bruschetta.

This popular dish like so many other Italian foods has been adopted into the American culinary lexicon which has endured countless modifications for daily consumption.

But in the interim of satisfaction, some have strayed from the true meaning which has ultimately led to a state of misconception.

Originally, bruschetta was a thick slice of crusty bread that was toasted, rubbed with garlic and topped with a drizzle of good quality olive oil. Bruschetta is beloved for its simple deliciousness, and high quality, but affordable ingredients.

When a dish is comprised of only a few ingredients, the level of purity and composition must reign supreme. Each component must blend beautifully and at the same time retain its distinctiveness.

The addition of extra ingredients must be carefully calculated so the palate is not overwhelmed, but at the same time, wishes for more.

Creativity is an incredible gift but caution should be incorporated into the tradition of uncomplicatedness.

Tomato bruschetta is the most popular types of bruschetta and a few pointers follow for fabulous results.

The word bruschetta comes from the Italian verb “brusciare,” meaning to burn. Toasting the bread is perfectly acceptable but grilling adds a whole new flavor profile which compliments this Tuscany delight.

Olive oil is a variable of many degrees and only the best should be considered. Not only do discerning palates know the difference but the olive oil is key to highlighting the natural earthiness and freshness of the dish.

Cherry tomatoes have a natural sweetness and offer an interesting twist. Whether you leave them whole or cut them up is up to the individual chef.

But if you decide to leave them whole, treat them with the utmost care. The skin of the tomato is very sensitive and can break easily under the harshness of the heat of a grill.

Fresh basil is a natural pairing when preparing tomato bruschetta, but do not feel you must follow protocol. A variety of fresh herbs adds depth of flavor and enhances the subtle richness.

If one has never had the pleasure of nibbling on grilled tomato bruschetta, I highly recommend it.

If you have never served this appetizer, you will be surprised how easy it is to prepare. Enjoy!

Grilled Tomato Bruschetta

Ingredients

1 to 1 ½ pints assorted grape tomatoes

(amount of tomatoes depends on the size of the loaf of bread)

7 tablespoons good quality extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 loaf ciabatta or other hearty Italian bread, ends removed, sliced crosswise into 12 (1/2-inch thick) pieces

1 clove garlic, minced

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup (loosely packed) fresh herbs such as basil, parsley and thyme as a garnish

1. Using a knife, mash the garlic to form a paste. Transfer to a medium bowl and whisk in vinegar and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Allow to rest for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the grill for medium-high heat. Brush both sides of bread with remaining olive oil and grill until lightly charred.

3. Grill tomatoes just enough to get a slight char. Carefully remove the tomatoes and try not to pierce the outer skin. The presentation is just as important as the taste.

4. If there is any remaining olive oil, garlic mixture, brush it onto the bread.

5. Place grilled tomatoes on the bread, garnish with fresh herbs and add an extra dusting of salt. Serve immediately.

Secret Ingredient – Attainment. “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

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