Tomato & basil toasts

The sky is flat, dark, slate grey, gathering over the roofs and trees to the southwest. The sky is bright on the other side of the horizon, but the rooms of our house are becoming dusky-dark. The bright green leaves are showing their pale undersides, and a spattering rain is edging over the house. The wind smells remarkable – cool and green and sharp, after a day of damp and heavy air. A storm is coming! I’m a little phobic about storms. It’s tedious for my family. I won’t leave the house if a storm is predicted. Well – that’s not quite true any more, because they predict storms every day from May to September in this day and age, and I do leave the house in every once in a while during those months. The truth is, though, that I love a good storm, if all of my people are safe and sheltered. Storms seem to capture so many seasons and hours of the day in their cycle of anticipation and relief. The heavy stillness that precedes them, which you can feel weighing you down; the drama of the storm itself; the clearness of the world when it’s all over. And storms are creatures of the summertime, of course. Warm and ripe and bursting – like summer tomatoes. We don’t have any summer tomatoes, yet, but we do have lots of basil! And half a ciabatta baguette to use up! So I made these tomato basil toasts. This could probably be called bruscetta, actually. And it’s one of those things that’s so simple, you feel silly posting a recipe. But it’s perfectly delicious. I add capers and roasted garlic, to the trinity of tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. The juice of the tomatoes mingles with a bit of olive oil and balsamic to create a lovely juicy sauce to dip your bread in. And that’s about it!

Here’s The Storms are on the Ocean by The Carter Family. I really love this song! It’s so driving, in their understated way.

4 or 5 medium-sized tomatoes (or as many as you have – you’ll adjust everything else to this!)
a big handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic roasted or toasted (remember to slash the skin, so it doesn’t explode!)
1 or 2 teaspoons of capers
about 1/2 cup mozarella, cut into small pieces. (Fresh is best, but processed is fine, too, if that’s all you have or can afford)
1 T olive oil (more if you have lots of tomatoes – you want to just coat everything lightly, but not make it heavy and soggy)
splash of balsamic
salt & plenty of freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Leave to marinate for about an hour before you eat.

Slice a baguette into 1/4 inch rounds, and toast these till lightly browned. (You can fry them in a bit of olive oil, too, but there’s already olive oil in the tomatoes!!)


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