22 February 2017

Tomato & Bacon Bruschetta - majorly epic flavourness

Is there such a word as "flavourness"?  If not, then there needs to be, if only to describe truly epic loveliness in the epicurean department such as this tomato and bacon bruschetta.  Oxford English Dictionary - in the words of the inestimable Captain Picard, "make it so!".

There now, having dealt with that, let's have a closer look at this Italianised bacon & tomatoes on toast.  Because that's what it is, really.

It all came about from our weekly staff meeting (that is, hubby, myself and the dogs) when I posed the question "what would you LIKE to eat, if you could".  Having got around the "lark's tongues in aspic" and "T-bone steak", not to mention "a Pavlova as big as my head", we came down to things that were rather more achievable.  Hubby mentioned the griddled sourdough that we had a little while ago, (that time with Coronation chicken on board) and we promptly had a bit of a brainstorm as to what you could put on griddled sourdough.

Well, the end result of pan fried, chopped bacon rashers with roughly chopped raspberry tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, all cooked in olive oil, just made my mouth water.

Now, if you're tempted to give this a go (and why wouldn't you be - it's beyond fab!), don't be put off by the fact that you can't source any raspberry tomatoes.  Just find the best flavoured tomatoes you can - any combination thereof will work.  Raspberry tomatoes are approximately the same size as a big old beefsteak tomato, but with 100% more flavour.  I reckon three or four normal sized vine ripened tomatoes would equal one raspberry tomato, if that helps.  If your tomatoes wind up being a tad acidic, never fear, just add a teaspoonful of honey to the pan and they'll taste like they were picked in the middle of summer.

It is important to drizzle the sourdough bread with a tasty extra virgin olive oil and rub it with garlic, but don't worry if you don't have a griddle pan.  Just toast it under the grill and it'll do the same job.  I adore my cast iron griddle pan and grab any excuse to use it, but I do appreciate that not everybody has one.

I paired our bruschetta up with an avocado based salad because it was served as a dinner.  However, this bruschetta recipe is perfectly adequate as a lunch without the salad.  A glass of something refreshing alongside is all you're likely to require for a fabulous lunch.

My favourite thing, apart from the gorgeous bacony, tomatoey, garlicky olive oil flavours, is the relationship between the sourdough and the tomato juice.  The toasted sides along with the chewy crust maintain the integrity of the bread whilst the gorgeous tomato juice just soaks, willy nilly, into the centre and shuffles around causing the bread and garlic to instantly fall in love with it.  Chunky salty bacon and sweet tomatoes on juice soaked garlicky toast with flakes of parmesan cheese on top.  Serious, extra large deliciousness.


Ingredients :

1 tbsp olive oil
345g smoked back bacon, chopped into chunks
2 extra large raspberry tomatoes (6-8 vine ripened tomatoes would do), chopped into chunks
6 sweet cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 small garlic clove, sliced finely and 1 large garlic clove, left whole
half a tsp of freshly ground black pepper
half a tsp of dried basil (oregano is good, if you don't have basil)
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp runny honey (just in case your tomatoes need help in the sweetening department)
3 good, thick, slices of sourdough bread
extra virgin olive oil
shards of Parmesan cheese
finely chopped fresh parsley
a mixed salad, to serve.

Method :

If you are serving salad alongside, prepare said salad before you begin to cook the bruschetta, as it really doesn't take long.

Heat the olive oil (not the extra virgin olive oil) in a frying pan and, once hot, add the chopped bacon.  Fry on a moderate to hot heat, so evaporate any water and begin to caramelise the bacon.  Once the pieces have begun to take on a golden colour, add all the tomatoes, the sliced garlic (not the whole garlic), black pepper, dried basil, tomato ketchup and Worcestershire sauce and stir from time to time as the mixture cooks.

The juice will escape from the tomatoes, which is good.  However, you want this liquid to reduce so as to intensify the flavour so keep the heat fairly high and stir regularly.  You are aiming for a fairly thick, chunky tomato sauce kind of texture.  When the tomato liquid has reduced by at least half, taste for acidity and add the teaspoonful of honey if necessary.

Once the consistency of the bacon & tomatoes is to your liking, reduce the heat to a tickover and turn your attention to the toast.

Taking the whole garlic clove, rub both sides of each slice of bread liberally with the clove.  Make sure to rub around the edge as the crust will help to shred the garlic.

Next, drizzle generously with the extra virgin olive oil on both sides.

Heat your griddle pan (or grill) and toast each slice on both sides to your own taste.

Place each slice of toast onto the plate you're going to serve them on and pile the bacon & tomatoes on top.  Make sure to catch the juice as you're piling as that's where a lot of the flavour is.

To finish, sprinkle the top with shards of Parmesan cheese and finally with the chopped parsley.

Serve with your pre-prepared salad and a glass of something refreshing.  Be happy!

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