Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Heirloom Tomato & Gorgonzola Bruschetta

Photo by: Mark Thomas

With Summer around the corner it is just a matter of time before this season's tomatoes are in the grocery stores and at the various Farmers Markets in our communities.
This is a recipe that I very loosely adapted from Bon Appetit. The use of heirloom tomatoes is well worth the trouble and expense of finding them (unless you are growing them in the backyard).

This is a tremendous dish and it can be served as a salad an appetizer or even a light dinner. The flavors work well together and the acidity of the tomatoes, the crunch of the onion and celery plus the creaminess of the cheese make this a dish that dances in your mouth. This is a big time favorite of mine

8 pieces of thickly sliced crusty bread
4 large garlic cloves
3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (eyeball it and use more if it looks dry)
1 pint currant or grape tomatoes or halved cherry or pear tomatoes
4-5 chopped green onions

6-10 medium heirloom tomatoes of assorted colors & varieties, cored, & sliced- Mix it up: Cherokee Purple, Brandywine, Green Zebra or Dad's Sunset...get what is fresh, interesting and in season! I think the salad looks better if the sliced tomatoes aren't too uniform in size.

1 small red onion, sliced paper-thin (it needs to be thin enough to read the print of this recipe...........kidding)
2 celery stalks, sliced thin on diagonal
1/2 chopped parsley
1 1/2 cups coarsely crumbled Gorgonzola blue cheese ( I love the creamy texture of this cheese and it is pungent, but without the smelly feet component of Roquefort...which I actually love, just not in this recipe)

Prepare barbecue grill
(medium-high heat)-you know the drill, use charcoal and for god's sake use a chimney charcoal starter (does anyone like the taste of charcoal starter?....rhetorical question) . Brush bread with olive oil. Combine remaining 1/3 cup oil, currant tomatoes, and green onions in medium bowl; toss to coat. Season with coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Overlap tomato slices in concentric circles on platter, alternating colors (or just put everything in a bowl and toss). Scatter onion and celery slices over tomatoes. Hit the mix with salt and pepper. Spoon tomato and green onion mixture over. Crumble the Gorgonzola over the mix and you are good to go.

Grill bread until golden (pay attention or you are going to have burnt toast), then pull off the grill and rub with the garlic cloves. Cut each slice diagonally in half; serve with salad.