grilled tomato and herb bread
Remember when I told you yesterday to make sure you saved that second loaf of ciabatta bread because I had something for you? Well, this is it, my friends. This delicious, quick, classically summer supper is how you’re going to use up that bread, plus a whole mess of tomatoes (which, if you aren’t growing yourself, people are pretty much giving away at this point in the summer).
Funny story about this bread. The idea for it actually came while I was out in the garden picking tomatoes. I had a handful of all different shapes, colors and sizes, and thought, huh, these would look really cool ombre style on a pizza or something. So I jotted that thought onto my recipe idea list and moved on with my life (so many food ideas have gone to die on that list).
Then, last week, I was shopping on Amazon for a new trash can (exciting, no?) and you know those little recommendations that come up throughout the site? Well, one of them was for a subscription to Martha Stewart Living, and lo and behold, on this month’s cover of MSL is an ombre heirloom tomato bread.
Martha and I are like THE SAME PERSON. Minus the felonies.
I immediately jumped over to Martha’s website and checked out the recipe and loved her rustic twist on my pizza idea, so I scrapped the regular pizza and did as Martha does and made it into a grilled pizza/bruschetta hybrid that is absolutely to die for. We are also drowning in fresh herbs right now, so I fancied my bread up a bit with a hefty sprinkling of fresh basil, oregano and parsley, but other than that, Martha and I are pretty much on the same page.
Let me tell you, this was, hands down, my favorite dinner of the summer. Not only was it ready in 15 minutes (well, if you don’t count baking the bread the day before, but you could easily pick up a fresh ciabatta from your local bakery) but it also had so much explosive flavor that you could only get from ripe tomatoes and herbs during summertime. Craig and I each had a ciabatta half to ourselves and downed our crunchy slices with glasses of chilled white wine. Such an amazing meal.
You could also serve these slices up as an appetizer for a backyard BBQ. Because they are heated on the grill, you could quickly make up a 6-8 breads (depending on the size of the grill) and have them ready for guests almost before they’ve sat down with their first drink. And, unless they’re tomato haters*, they’ll love it!
*I’m particularly sensitive to tomato haters because I am the only one of four siblings who eats tomatoes. Weirdos.
Now, obviously, I used a whole bunch of my heirloom tomatoes from the garden (in order from red to green: Black Krim, Martino’s Roma, Italian Heirloom, Moonglow, Green Zebra), but that’s mostly just for looks. You could easily use whatever ripe, fresh tomatoes you wanted for this bread. Although, I wouldn’t recommend using hothouse tomatoes because you’re really relying on tons of bright, fresh notes from the tomatoes and herbs to make this dish flavorful, and with dull, mushy, pink January tomatoes, you aren’t going to be happy with the results.
The herbs are also totally customizable. I went the classic Italian route with basil, oregano and parsley, but really any mixture of what you have kicking around would work. And if you wanted to make this even more pizza-like, a few slices of fresh mozzarella wedged between the tomato slices wouldn’t hurt anyone. Yum.
I think I’m going to have to make another batch of ciabatta mostly just so I can eat this tomato bread again while the tomatoes are still fresh from the garden. I’ve got a feeling this will be the kind of meal that I dream about when it’s 10° and snowing in February. Probably should get my fill now!
Grilled Tomato and Herb Bread
Adapated from: Martha Stewart | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 15 minutes | Makes: 2 dinner servings
- 1 loaf ciabatta bread, sliced horizontally to make two long, flat loves
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4-6 ripe tomatoes, sliced thinly
- Handful of fresh herbs, minced (I used basil, oregano, and parsley)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat the grill to high.
- Using a pastry brush, brush 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the cut side of each half of the ciabatta bread. Place bread, cut side down, on the grill and grill until brown and toasted, about 5 minutes, flip bread and grill an additional 5 minutes. Remove from grill.
- Rub the garlic clove over the cut side of the toasted bread, then layer bread with tomato slices, sprinkle with herbs and drizzle with remaining olive oil. Place back in the grill, close lid and grill just to heat through, about 5 minutes. Remove from grill and season with salt and pepper.