This is a quick and simple starter to whet a range of appetites any time of the year. As a dish served warm and fresh from the stovetop, it is most agreeable to the stomach and good for morale! —nlog2n
Smashed garlic cloves
Good-quality olive oil
Fresh French baguette (sliced thick on the diagonal)
Fresh cherry tomatoes (halved)
Fresh basil (torn or shredded into small pieces)
Green scallions (cleaned, trimmed and finely chopped)
Progresso Italian breadcrumbs (optional)
In a small bowl, soak the smashed garlic cloves in the olive oil for at least half an hour to infuse the olive oil with garlic flavor.
Generously brush the baguette slices on both sides with the garlic-infused olive oil. The remaining garlic-infused oil will be used to sautée the bruschetta topping.
Add some plain olive oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet with a very thin layer of oil. Heat on medium-high until quite hot. Toast the pre-oiled baguette slices (2 or 3 at a time) in the skillet, 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until the slices reach your desired amount of golden color. Remove from heat and keep warm on a platter until ready to top with the bruschetta topping.
In a wok or sauté pan, heat the leftover garlic-infused olive oil on medium-high until fairly hot. Add the scallions and sauté briefly, just to release the aromatics into the oil. Add the halved cherry tomatoes, salt and sugar and sauté for 2-3 mins. If you want softer tomatoes and more sauce, cook a bit longer. You can also add in the optional soy sauce and/or red chili pepper flakes. Reduce heat to med-low.
Add the breadcrumbs if you want to thicken the sauce a bit. Stir in the basil and continue cooking for about half minute to extract the flavor into the sauce. Taste and adjust with more salt and/or sugar as needed. I like to add sugar to savory foods, as the sugar rounds out the salty flavor and gives a dish more body.
Top the toasts with the freshly sautéed topping for a show-stopping presentation and aromatic experience! Any excess juices left in the pan can be reserved for later use as a tasty sauce for noodles or rice or in a soup.