As a shopper at the East Nashville Farmers Market, I like to incorporate as much seasonal produce grown by my local farmers into my daily meals and holiday dishes. That’s why I prepare a lovely tomato bruschetta for every Fourth of July celebration— a marinated tomato salad spooned on top of grilled, crusty bread. It is my preferred way to showcase the first of summer’s heirloom tomatoes that have ripened sweetly in the hot sun. This holiday, however, I’ve decided to add even more color, flavor, and texture to my bruschetta with sweet white peaches, crisp cucumber, fresh basil, and spring onion — a real Tennessee summertime medley.
If you’ve ever had a peach salsa, you know the sweet and tart flavors of peaches pair wonderfully with tomatoes, garlic, onion, and bright herbs. When these fruits and vegetables meld together in a bath of balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil, it becomes a delicious salad to top a crusty piece of bread or eaten as a relish with grilled pork or chicken. It serves as both an appetizer or side dish and is an excellent choice for an outdoor picnic or barbecue — light, flavorful, and keeps well at room temperature. The bread can also be diced, toasted, and incorporated to make a panzanella, or spooned over fried eggs and toast in the morning.
I began at the East Nashville Farmers Market with my short, seasonal grocery list. I chose one pint of sweet cherry tomatoes from Delvin Farms, two small crisp cucumbers and a bundle of spring onions from Oak Grove Farms, one bag of ‘White Ladies’ peaches from the Peach Truck, and a nice bunch of fresh basil from Slocal. I began by peeling my cucumbers and peaches, and diced them, plus my tomatoes and onion, very small. I selected five large leaves of basil and sliced them into long strips. I then combined everything into a large bowl, added a heavy splash of both balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil, a couple pinches of salt and pepper, mixed well, covered and placed in the refrigerator to marinate.
For my bread, I purchased a fresh wheat loaf from our neighborhood restaurant and ENFM bread vendor, Porter House Bistro. I sliced the loaf into 3/4” slices, brushed with extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkled heavily with salt and pepper, and toasted under the broiler on both sides until golden brown and crisp (use a grill to toast if one is available). Once the slices cooled, I rubbed each one with a clove of garlic, imparting a delicious garlicky flavor into each bite of bruschetta. To serve, place toasted or grilled bread in a basket and serve with chilled tomato, peach, and cucumber salad in separate bowl. Spoon the mixture on top of bread and enjoy at this week’s Fourth of July picnic.
Summer Bruschetta with Cherry Tomatoes, White Peaches, and Basil
1 pint cherry tomatoes, diced small (approx 1 large cup)
2 large white peaches, peeled, pits removed, diced small (approx. 1 large cup)
1/2 cup small-diced cucumbers , peeled and seeded
1/4 cup spring onion, finely diced
5 large basil leaves, chiffonade (approx 1/4 packed cup)
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Porter House Bistro wheat loaf or baguette
1 clove garlic
extra-virgin olive oil (for bread)
salt and pepper