I hate seeing perfectly good ingredients go to waste. Why does store-bought basil start to go bad so quickly? Can't supermarkets sell them in smaller quantities for those of us who use it only once in a while? After all, not every recipe calls for a whole bunch of basil. And it isn't cheap! Ditto for parmesan cheese. Most recipes call for the good stuff, then ask you to only use a 1/4 cup.
Well, there I was, with my leftover basil and "good" parmesan (as opposed to the stuff in the green bottle), thinking "dammit, now what?!". And then it came to me. I would solve two problems in one go. Breakfast! I'm always having issues with coming up with something interesting enough for breakfast. I'm one of those people who can easily skip brekkie if I can't think of anything exciting to eat. But that's where my love for Italian food helped. More than any other cuisine (just in my opinion folks, I'm allowed to have one!), I think the charm about Italian food is its simplicity. The freshest of ingredients are allowed to shine through without messing around with them too much.
So come with me, and let's pretend that we just woke up to a lovely summer morning in the Tuscan countryside (if it helps you can imagine waking up next to a scrumptious young stud, called Lucio or Fabio or some such moniker that makes your lips pucker up every time you say it). For breakfast you wander outside to your villa's garden and pick the fresh basil growing there. Then Paolo saunters into the kitchen, while you whip up this tasty little morsel.
Good bread, sliced
Fresh plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
Fresh basil leaves
Parmesan cheese (yeah, the good stuff), grated
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Toast your bread.
2. Lay some basil leaves on each slice.
3. Put on a layer of tomato slices.
4. Sprinkle some black pepper over them.
5. Grate the parmesan all over the tomatoes, and be very generous. Have Alesandro do it - you'll enjoy watching.
6. Put the slices on a baking sheet and straight under the broiler for 5 minutes until the cheese has mostly melted. Buon appetito!
It's ready to enjoy straight out of the oven, and you can savor your little Italian fantasy right up to the last bite. Make it last. Because after that it's back to suburbia, the farm or a cramped city apartment. Unless you're actually in Italy as you're reading this, which in that case, makes you one how-dare-you-be-so-lucky duck, and me one crabby jealous woman.
Oh, I'll get over it - DH may not be called Rafaello but he does look better than I do in the mornings, and he makes the best coffee, just the way I like it. I know - DH wins.
Since fresh basil is key to the taste of this Breakfast Bruschetta, am also submitting this entry to the lovely Yasmeen over at Health Nut (I can only admire anyone who is - I'm just a nut) for the next Weekend Herb Blogging round-up.