My friend Wyler was coming to visit last year, at the top of tomato season. I was sick of tomato season. So not another tomato sandwich with mayo, not another batch of tomato sauce (hot or cold on hot pasta), not another lovely plate of sliced tomatoes on the side for me. And, though I never thought I'd say it, I was a little tired of olive oil. But it's insane to let a window ledge lined with good tomatoes turn ugly, so I made this bruschetta. And I was back in love with tomatoes, just like that. So good, the juices mixing with the melty butter, still crunchy toast, sweet tomato. It's best if you can get a loaf of unsliced rye from the bakery, because then you can make the slices just a wee-bit thicker that store bought rye--a half an inch is ideal; that's how I did it when Wyler was here, but you can definitely make due with a loaf or Arnold's. Just use less butter; you want the ratio of tomato to crispy rye toast to melting butter to be perfect. —EmilyNunn
2 as generous appetizers
big perfectly ripe tomatoes; not Roma.
1 1/2 teaspoons
sea salt, more to taste
extra virgin olive oil
red wine vinegar
large garlic clove, finely chopped; add more if you love garlic like I do.
thick slices of rye bread, preferably seeded
Butter, at room temperature
In This Recipe
Core and roughly dice your tomatoes; no need to peel or de-seed.
Place in a large bowl, sprinkle with the salt, and let sit for 30 minutes or so. Drain off the excess tomato juice and save it for a salad dressing or drink it. It's up to you. Don't worry; this will still be plenty juicy.
Stir in the olive oil, vinegar, and garlic, cover the bowl, and let it sit at room temperature for at least an hour or until you are ready for your appetizers.
When you become peckish, toss the basil into the tomato mixture and give it a good stir, reserving a few strands for decoration. Taste for salt.
Remove the crusts from each slice of rye bread; cut each piece in half. Toast on both sides.
While toasts are still hot, slather each slice with 1/2 TB of the butter, then pile some of the tomato mixture on top. Arrange on a pretty plate, sprinkle with some more basil (and salt if you need it), and serve ASAP. You will probably have leftover tomato mixture, but you will also have leftover bread so you can repeat the process and skip dinner altogether.