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Charred-Tomato Bruschetta

The crisp Italian-style toast known as bruschetta is never better than when the toasting is done on the grill. Prepare the zesty topping in advance, and you will have something you can quickly assemble for guests to nibble while the rest of the meal cooks on the grill.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ripe tomatoes
  • 18 baguette slices, each about 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh basil, plus whole
      leaves for garnish
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat.

Brush the tomatoes and bread slices lightly and evenly with the olive oil.

Grill the tomatoes over the hottest part of a charcoal fire or directly over the heat elements of a gas grill, turning often, until charred on all sides and starting to soften, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board.

Grill the bread slices, turning once, until dark grill marks appear and the bread is crisp, 3 to 4 minutes total.

Core the tomatoes, then chop them and their charred peels. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in the chopped basil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Let stand for 30 to 60 minutes to develop the flavors.

Top the bread slices with the tomatoes and garnish with basil leaves. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Grilling, by Denis Kelly, Melanie Barnard, Barbara Grunes & Michael McLaughlin (Oxmoor House, 2003).