Grilled bread with fresh tomatoes and garlic
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1 1/2 pounds ripe, juicy tomatoes
8 slices crusty Italian bread, cut 1/2 inch thick
1 to 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and patted dry
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh oregano leaves, or 10-12 fresh basil leaves, shredded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 to 2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in halves
Bring a medium-sized pan of water to boil. Cut across at the root end of the tomatoes and drop them into the boiling water. Cook one to two minutes, until the skin of the tomatoes begins to split. Transfer the tomatoes into a bowl of iced water. Peel and seed the tomatoes and roughly chop them. Place them in a strainer and put over a bowl for 20 to 30 minutes, to allow tomatoes to lose their watery juices. Brush the bread lightly with olive oil and place over a hot grill or under a broiler until golden brown on both sides.
Put the tomatoes, capers and oregano or basil in a medium bowl and season with salt and several twists of pepper. Add the oil and mix everything well.
Rub the hot bread slices with the garlic clove. Spoon the tomato mixture over each slice and serve.
(Tip: If fresh oregano or basil is unavailable, use one to two tablespoons of chopped parsley.)
"This delicious, humble dish, which was once the mainstay of farmers and land laborers, has now been rediscovered and re-invented and can be prepared with a variety of fresh ingredients. This version is one of my favorites."--Biba Caggiano