heirloom tomato bruschetta

I was listening to The Splendid Table podcast one day recently, and I heard a segment that Lynne Rossetto Kasper did on foods that we eat when we’re alone. It got me thinking about the foods that I eat when I’m alone. And, to be perfectly honest, I’m sort of embarrassed by my laziness when it comes to meal preparation when I’m only responsible for feeding myself. I’m perfectly content with a bowl of cereal. Actually, I’m usually excited to be able to eat a bowl of cereal. Awful, I know.

This past weekend was a bit of an unusual one. Because it was a working weekend for me, and because my husband and I planned to attend my high school reunion on Saturday evening, my parents kept our children for both nights. On Saturday, while Sam was doing some volunteer work, I found myself all alone at lunch time – a bit of a rarity on the weekends. After being inspired by one of my colleagues at work (a fellow foodie, of course!), I bought some beautiful heirloom tomatoes and decided to have a simple bruschetta. I can only do this when I’m alone, you see, because of my tomato-hating husband.

The bruschetta was simply divine. My only regret was that I had not made more of it. Had I let it sit for more than about 15 minutes, it probably would have been even better, but when there’s a beautiful tomato drenched in olive oil and balsamic in front of me, I simply cannot control myself. And especially not when said tomato is topped with a light sprinkling of fleur de sel.

By the way, if you don’t already listen to The Splendid Table podcast, you are seriously missing out. Lynne Rossetto Kasper gets me to work every morning and home every evening. Between her and Ira Glass of This American Life, I am one happy commuter.

Yield: 4 servings

Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta

Recipe just slightly adapted from this one in Bon AppΓ©tit, June 2008. I used heirloom full-size tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes. I highly recommend using high quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar since these really make the dish.


6-8 ripe heirloom tomatoes (just depends on the size of the tomato)
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing on the bread
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Fleur de sel


Core and remove seeds from the tomatoes. Dice the seeded tomatoes into small pieces, depending on your preference (1/8 inch approximately).

Add tomatoes, onion, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Toss to combine. Sprinkle with fleur de sel just prior to serving.

Note: Serve with sliced baguette that you have rubbed with olive oil and toasted under the broiler. Or, simply eat out of the bowl with a spoon - which is what I did.

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7 Responses to “lessons from abuela, and sausage and potato mini empanadas”

  1. Tammy — June 8, 2012 @ 3:55 pm

    What delightful memories she created with her love for children and yummy Cuban cooking. This was a wonderful story and great recipe. Americans are fearful of spices and many of them are very good for you. They offer a wealth of health benefits without calories and add flavor to your food.

  2. Tamara — June 8, 2012 @ 6:00 pm

    Abuela’s lessons and legacy will always live on through you and your kids πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing them! Oh, and empanadas are my favorite! πŸ™‚

  3. DessertForTwo — June 12, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

    I so enjoyed reading this and it made me smile to think about little Oliver enjoying delicious Cuban food and coming home to bland chicken & peas πŸ™‚

  4. Jenny @ BAKE — June 15, 2012 @ 6:37 am

    It sounds like she was a wonderful lady, your empanadas look incredible!

  5. Stephanie — June 15, 2012 @ 7:33 am

    I used to make emanadads with pre-made dough. I’m so glad you published this reciepe, now I’ll try to do my own dough! πŸ™‚

  6. Elin — June 22, 2012 @ 10:44 pm

    What a touching story from the memories of Meri. It makes me want to appreciate any good empanada even more.

  7. Kelly Stilwell — January 18, 2013 @ 9:59 am

    You were blessed that you had such a sweet nanny. We are still friends with the sitters we used when our girls were small. These empanadas look amazing. Can’t wait to make them!

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