I was thrilled when my friend Nicolee asked me to be part of a cookbook project for the magazine Kinfolk.The subject of the book was to travel around the world, profiling “tastemakers who are cooking and entertaining in a way that is beautiful, uncomplicated, and inexpensive”. The idea was to ask each person to provide two recipes. One would be a recipe that had special meaning and was important in some way. The other recipe needed to be something that the cook made often and was a ‘go to’ dish.
For my first recipe I chose Amatriciana. Although this is not a recipe that I grew up with, it has become our family’s favorite meal. Now, when my daughters come home from university, it is the first thing they ask for. I’ve written about it a few times, and included the recipe here.
On the other hand, the other recipe I chose – the one that I make without thinking, was bruschetta. And I although I’ve written about fancy versions of it here and here and here, I have just realized that the classic – with tomatoes – was oddly absent from the blog.
Well, maybe not so oddly. It’s barely a recipe. But so many people do get it wrong, I think it’s worth slipping it in, quickly, before tomato season makes it’s final farewell. But the plain version, with just a drizzle of olive oil and a hint of garlic, is good to go all year round.
Unfortunately, due to various publishing budgets, my section has been cut from the cookbook. Partly to make up for my disappointment, the folks at Kinfolk kindly sent me the totally amazing photographs that Parker Fitzgerald took here in Rome. I’m sharing them all here, since I am SO in love with them. And of course, my favorites are the one with my Pico baby.
Bruschetta is about as ‘non-recipe’ as you can possiblity get. And like any non recipe, it’s all about the ingredients. The main ingredients are bread and olive oil, so if you start out with good quality bread and oil, you’re half way there.
The bread should be crusty, with a firm rustic crumb. In other words an Italian loaf.
Extra virgin olive oil, from Italy.
Only use tomatoes if they are fantastic. If not, forget it.
2 large ripe tomatoes
Fresh basil leaves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Chop tomatoes into bite size pieces. Put in a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt and basil. Mix gently.
Slice bread about a half inch thick. Toast over coals if possible. If not, toast either over open flame on your cook top, or else in the broiler.
While still hot, rub garlic across the bread. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, top with tomatoes and a bit more salt.
Do not make ahead, or else the bread gets soggy. It’s best eaten standing around the grill, with juicy oil running down your chin.
I haven’t seen the cookbook yet, which will be published by Artisan in October., but I’m sure it will be gorgeous. You can pre order it here.
And more of Parker’s beautiful work can be seen here.
And if you’re not one of the 340,000 people (yes, you read that right) already following Nicolee on Instagram, you should be. She is @cucinadigitale