Everyone loved Federico. And he taught me a lot about Italian food. Our cupboards were full of tins of baked beans and cheap noodles, while his were packed with bottles of olive oil and tinned tomatoes. My emergency meal was cheese on toast, while his was spaghetti with chopped tomatoes, tuna and lots of black pepper. I still make it sometimes now. And I remember when he stood at the chipped kitchen worktop and showed me how to make bruschetta. The only thing I've changed is the addition of fresh basil, which was far too extravagant for either of us at the time. We used to use dried mixed herbs. Good old Federico.
(I made a version of this for my Gluten-Free challenge earlier in the month, using gluten-free ciabatta, if you notice it looks familiar.)
- 2 slices of toasted, sliced bread, or ciabatta
- 2 tablespoons chopped tomatoes, straight from the tin
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- salt and black pepper
- fresh basil leaves, for scattering over
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Arrange the toasted bread or ciabatta onto a foil-lined grill tray. Being careful not to catch too much of the juice, take a spoonful of the chopped tomatoes and spread them, fairly thickly, over the toast. Scatter over the garlic clove (half on each) and sprinkle over a pinch of salt and pepper, mixing them all in slightly with a fork. Drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil.
- Rip up the basil leaves, scatter over the top, and grill for about 5 minutes. Drizzle with a little more olive oil if you like, and then eat straight away.