Change is in the air as the bright green shoots appear from everywhere, buds and soil. The promise of warmer months ahead will fill our spirits and larders with abundance and sunshine. Should you know a keen cook, you would’ve noticed the springtime twinkle in their eyes like the sap rising – that I see in every chef I know. Since I was a young buck, this recipe has summed up the arrival of Summer. Dead simple to make as well as an all-round crowd pleaser, not to mention easy on the eye! A great way to use bread that is a day or two old and ‘just-over’ tomatoes. You’ll only need one bowl, one knife and a chopping board, easy!

Tomato, basil and olive bruschetta

4 Plum tomatoes
12 Olives, green, stoned
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
8 Basil leaves 
125ml Extra virgin olive oil 
Salt and ground black pepper 

1. Quarter the tomatoes and slide the pips from the skins into the bowl. Lay the fleshy skins flat on a chopping board and cut into small dice.

2. Next, crush the garlic with the flat side of your knife and work it to a pulp, adding to the bowl as you go. 

3. Next, the olives – again very small dice and make sure you use the same spot on the board, so you don’t waste any of the heady garlicky juices. The brine of the olives will clean the surface for the pungent sweetness of the basil to follow.

4. Roll all the basil leaves into a ‘cigar’ and finely chop. The only thing to do is add the oil and season with flakes of sea salt and a couple of turns of black pepper.

5. For the bruschetta simply slice wedges of proper bread, lay flat on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil (don’t be shy!) and grill on both sides.

6. Top bread tip: I know a man who uses his loaf to bake and teach Slow Real Bread. His name is Emmanuel Hadjiandreou. If you head to The Crown in the Old Town, you’ll find his irresistible bread perched on the end of the bar. The last batch was blushing beetroot loaves nestled beside green pea (fresh peas as well as pea flour) sourdough. Emmanuel is a great teacher, always keen to share his knowledge, so why not pick up one of his three books or attend a class if you want to learn from the master baker himself?
You can thank me later.

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