If there are kids in the kitchen who want to help out, you can ditch the knives for this easy appetizer; just rip the tomatoes and basil with your hands. The tomato mixture can also be tossed with pasta to make a fresh sauce. From the book "Lucinda's Rustic Italian Kitchen," by Lucinda Scala Quinn (Wiley).
- 1 8-inch loaf round Italian bread, cut in half crosswise, and cut into 10 slices per side
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 to 6 Roma tomatoes, cut into 1-inch dice (about 3 cups)
- 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, cleaned, stacked in a pile, rolled, and cut into a fine julienne
- 6 cloves garlic, 3 crushed and 3 cut in half lengthwise
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the oven rack in the top part of the oven.
Place sliced bread on rimmed baking sheets. Cook 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Flip bread and toast 5 more minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, place the olive oil, tomatoes, basil, 3 crushed garlic cloves, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
Rub the 3 halved garlic cloves, cut side down, over every piece of toasted bread. Spoon a couple tablespoons of tomato mixture over each piece of toast and serve immediately.