Olive oil is a traditional crop in the Mediterranean basin, like perhaps apples in Vermont. Millions of trees are cultivated worldwide, but Spain holds the torch for the top producer.
To make olive oil, the olives are crushed and pressed, and extra virgin is made from the first pressing and holds all of the antioxidant properties and has the most intense flavor. The benefits are endless really..breast cancer protection, helps prevent belly fat, and improve insulin sensitivity, controls blood sugar, prevents bone loss, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Wow, they left that out in culinary school. So I am going to give you a super easy Bruschetta hors'oeuvre that will have your guests asking how you made it.
1 multi grain baguette or regular baguette
3 tomatoes (I love the vine ripes, they are the closest to right out of your garden)
diced very small
1 small onion minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 large leaves of basil, chiffonade(roll the leaves together and slice into thin strips)
fresh cracked black pepper
salt to taste
splash balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus extra to baste bread
1 cup medium firm asiago cheese, whole not grated
Dice tomatoes pretty small, they are going to top your breads, so keep ease of eating in mind. Mince onions and garlic together add to tomatoes. Chiffonade basil and stir into your tomatoes. Add balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil season with salt and pepper and mix, taste and adjust seasonings. Let sit in fridge(to macerate) for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F and slice your baguette about 1/4 inch thick or thicker if you prefer thicker bruschetta. Layer on cookie sheet and using a pastry brush, generously baste each piece of bread with virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven until golden brown and crisp. When ready to serve give yourself about 1/2 hour for assembly. Spoon some of the tomato filling on each bread crisp and top with a asiago curl. (to do this take your carrot peeler and with a firm hand run the peeler across the surface of the cheese) If you want to get really fancy you can top with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley.
Food for thought is not substitute for the real thing.~Walt Kelly