While I was travelling in Italy I enjoyed a pre-siesta snack nearly every day which included olives. It also included bruschetta. The tomatoes I bought at the market in Venice were divine, fresh and juicy. And -- good news for you -- similarly fresh heirloom tomatoes are starting to pop up at Ontario farmers' markets.
Bruschetta's an extremely easy snack to make. You don't need a recipe, really, just a few ingredients and a hungry belly. More often than not, when we eat bruschetta at a restaurant it's drowned in iodized salt and cheese (not even good quality cheese). But if you make the dish yourself, you won't need any cheese because the garlic and basil add incredible flavour. And yes, you should definitely add salt, but not table salt -- reach for sea salt which is bursting with minerals!
The ingredients in this recipe are extremely nutrient-dense and this post wouldn't be complete if I didn't mention a few of bruschetta's health benefits.
Tomatoes: Their red-hot reputation is due to a ton of research on their lycopene content. This carotenoid has been extensively studied for its antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties. Studies have shown tomatoes reduce the risk of colorectal, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung and pancreatic cancers.
Garlic: For such a small vegetable, garlic sure has a ton of health benefits, including heart health support, anti-inflammatory properties, antibacterial and anti-viral benefits, anti-cancer support and that just barely scratches the surface.
Basil: The basil that most people eat is "sweet basil," but there are over 60 varieties of the herb. The spice is a great source of beta-carotene, a nutrient that has been studied extensively for its cell-protecting ability and has been proven to lessen the progression of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. Just the smell of basil makes my mouth water!
Sea salt: The Healthy Foodie loves sea salt as much as I do: "Where sea salt in its pure form contains 92 trace minerals, table salt is refined to the point of containing two (three if you count the iodine that's put back in) -- sodium and chloride. This is the reason an unrefined salt has a characteristic colour -- grey, beige, pink, red, even black -- but never stark white." I agree 100 per cent, which is why I add sea salt to almost all my cooking.
2 fresh organic tomatoes, chopped (any variety will do)
2 garlic cloves, minced
Handful of fresh basil, chopped
Pinch or two of sea salt
A few gluggs of extra-virgin olive oil
Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl and let the flavours marinate for at least 10 to 20 minutes. Enjoy on crackers with some fresh olives!