If you’ve seen the movie Julie & Julia, chances are you’ve also recently made Boef Bourguignon. I’ll admit that my mouth watered watching the dish being made, however with temperatures in the 90’s, there was no way I was going to be coming home and sweating over a hot kitchen stove.
But there was something else in the movie that caught the eye of both M and myself. You know the scene in the movie where Julie is chopping up a gazillion tomatoes and toasting baguette, and Eric suggests she start a blog? Then they’re shown mounding these tomatoes on top of the baguette and cramming it all into their mouths while they discuss what kind of blog she should write. What was that stuff? Whatever it was, it looked delicious, and M and I decided that we must have chopped tomatoes on bread.
I bought a pound and a half of heirloom tomatoes from the local organic market because they looked so delicious. I don’t think that Julie used heirlooms, but these sung to me when I saw them, and I have a hard time saying “no” to heirloom tomatoes. I chopped them all up fairly roughly- about 1/4-1/2 inch cubes, I’d estimate. I also diced half of a small red onion. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, I made a dressing of 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons (dark) balsamic vinegar, 2 finely minced small cloves of garlic, and a pinch each of salt and freshly ground black pepper. I whisked it together until it was emulsified, then dumped in the tomatoes and onions. At this point, I ran out to my garden and gathered some fresh basil, parsley, and oregano that I chopped up and added to the bowl- about 1/4 cup of herbs in all. I stirred it with a big bamboo spoon until everything was combined, and then left it on the counter to marinate for an hour.
Once the tomatoes have marinated for an hour, slice a baguette on the bias about 3/4-inch to 1-inch thick. In a large saute pan, lay out the slices and coat liberally on each side with extra virgin olive oil. Use just enough so that the bread absorbs the oil over its surface- there shouldn’t be any oil pooled in the pan. Turn on the flame, and toast the bread slices for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden and crispy. Remove to a platter.
At the table, mound a scoop of the tomatoes onto a baguette slice and allow the baguette to soak up some of the juices from the tomatoes. Bite into a mouthful and enjoy, then have another. This is a messy dinner, best accompanied by a close friend or family member and ample dinner napkins. We ate just the bread and tomatoes that night, but I think it would have been delicious to have a ball of fresh buffalo mozzarella served along with the meal.
Just a note- you will have a lot of tomato juice left over at the end. Don’t throw this away as it has a wonderful flavor. Rather, store it in a jar in the fridge for up to a week, and add to it some vinegar and olive oil to make vinaigrette for salads.