I had the pleasure of attending an evening of Greek produce and food. Before the night, Greek food to me was grilled lamb, plastic wrapped feta and moussaka. Yeah, I know it’s more than that, what I liked most was their passion for the ingredients.
We learned about currants, dairy, mastic and obviously olive oil. In my mind I never associate olive oil with Greece, yes, I knew that they produced it. But it really hit home how important it is to Greece when reminded that it comes from a sacred and blessed tree dating to ancient Greece. Olive branches were used to crown Olympic winners after all.
The olives used in the Farmers Union Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil are grown on the sunny hills lands overlooking the Corinthian Gulf in chalky soils. The olive oil that’s produced is very grassy with a peppery finish. I wanted to make something that really let the olive oil shine and immediately thought of a beautiful Bruschetta. I hear what you are saying… you are making an Italian dish. I really can’t better the simple combination of beautiful tomatoes and this Greek olive oil.
I used Isle of Wight tomatoes as they simply are the best tomatoes you can buy in the UK. Thankfully they are found at most Farmers markets. The colours and flavours just scream summer and make for a brilliant supporting actor to the Greek Olive oil.
Also, quite controversially, I’m advocating the use of Greek basil in the bruschetta. Not because I’m trying to make this greeker (is that a word? Grammarly thinks so), but it gives a punchier basil flavour and it’s a lot more forgiving than the Genovese variety when growing it on a balcony in Britain.
Isle of Wight Bruschetta with Greek Olive Oil
2 punnets of IOW tomato’s
1 Tbsp Farmers Union extra virgin olive oil
5 sprigs of Greek Basil stalks removed and picked.
1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt. (tomatoes love salt, don’t be stingy)
1 pack of Galbani Mini Mozzarella, Drained.
4 slices of Pane Pugliese. I used Crosta & Mollica cut in half (feel free to use a baguette or similar bread)
1 garlic clove cut in half
60 ml Farmers Union Extra Virgin olive oil
Quarter and halve the tomatoes and toss with the salt and chopped basil. Leave in the bowl whilst you toast your bread.
Preheat oven to 230°C with a rack in the top slot of the oven. Once it’s up to temperature. Toast the bread for about 5 minutes till golden and crisp. Rub a cut garlic clove over the warm toasted bread then brush with olive oil.
Drain off and reserve most of the juice that comes out of the tomatoes, add the baby mozzarella and toss in the reserved tablespoon of olive oil.
The painfully simple part of this painfully simple recipe. Arrange the toasted bread on a plate (olive oil side facing up). Mound the toasted bread with the tomatoes mixture. Then drizzle with a little more olive oil and a little bit of the reserved juices.
Using Pane Pugliese
Toss the tomatoes with salt and basil
The Finished Bruschetta
I’ve omitted the use of any balsamic vinegar because the IOW tomatoes are beautifully balanced, and I don’t feel they need any more acid or sweetness. Though feel free to add.I’ve omitted black pepper as the Farmers Union Olive oil has a very peppery finish as does the Greek basil. Once again feel free to add.