It’s not lunch a la Peter Mayle, I didn’t get started as early as that, (better late than never) but the BH and I rang in the Yes Year (Damn, that’s hokey, but what else to call it except maybe A Year in JP? Hmm.) on Monday night with my own version of the bruschetta that made my mouth water and heart clench as I watched Julie and Julia. In the movie, there’s a lingering shot of the bread slices frying in oil before they’re piled with delicious chopped heirloom tomatoes and basil. The sound of the film is so good that you hear the slurp-crunch as they eat.
I’ve never fried the bread for my bruschetta before, and I’ve rarely grilled it.
I will never make that mistake again.
Always fry your bread in olive oil until it’s crunchy and golden, then drain it on a paper bag, then put it on a platter with too much cheese. Always. (Also, “too much cheese?” I must be crazy. There’s no such thing.)
Here’s what it will look like. (Bostonians, this is an Iggy’s Francese loaf, sliced. I know– Francese bread for an Italian dish? It was good. You’ll forgive me.)
Then, you also have little cut up bits of cherry-sized heirloom tomatoes that you’ve bought from Trader Joe’s because you were lazy the Farmer’s market, and dressed with salt and pepper and torn pieces of basil and a half a chopped vidalia onion. Like this.
And then you will smear your crusty, toasty, crispy, oily and oh-so-delicious bread with too much just enough ricotta or fresh sliced mozzarella and pile on some tomatoes, and you will look at it and think “Oooooh.” Like this.
And then, then, you will crunch through the oil-crisped bread, the creamy sweet rich ricotta, the tangy-herby-fruity-vegetal topping, and you will agree.
Always fry the bread.
You probably won’t even need the olive oil, good balsamic your BIL brought back from his honeymoon and/or good sherry vinegar to top it all with. I didn’t.
(I may have drizzled some vinegar right onto some mozzarella slices all on their own and then eaten them with my bare hands and then licked my plate after all the bruschetta topping was done, but that would be kind of piggy and there’s no photographic proof to say that it happened. Just a Freudian slip in a blog post.)
The year began with dinner.