I spent many summers here on the Island working as a waitress. Each shift we were given a meal chosen from an abbreviated menu. I would order my free meal, usually a salad of some sort, and when it was ready, I’d wait, and when the chef stepped out back to do prep work, I’d grab my meal and sneak onto the kitchen line, where there was a clear container filled with cherry tomato bruschetta. I would look around to make sure the coast was clear of any angry chefs, and scoop myself a generous ladle full of the chilled tomato topping. I put it onto quite literally any of the meals I had chosen. After that I would scurry it back to the break counter. Sometimes a chef would pass by and I would get a comment referring to the hefty scoop of tomatoes which seemed to have “magically appeared” on my plate. I just smiled and played dumb; they didn’t mind enough to let it bother them.
After my waitressing days came to an end, I was baffled with all the cooking that comes with adulthood. I missed the free cooked meals, and I sure missed that bruschetta. I recreated it at home, and found my recipe closely mimicked the restaurant’s. Over the years it’s become a more simplified version, but still quite tasty.
What I think sets this bruschetta topping apart is the cherry tomatoes, rather than the Roma tomatoes. I think it’s a nice variation that makes it last a little longer in your fridge. I made a small batch, half a container of cherry tomatoes quartered, or sixthed (if that’s a word), a quarter of a red onion finely sliced into little moon shapes, a spoonful of minced or chopped garlic, and about a quarter-cup of oil. Olive oil is best. I just didn’t have any, so I used vegetable oil, a quarter-cup of vinegar, and a half-cup of this tasty Italian dressing I recently discovered at the store. I added a couple of shakes of salt and pepper, and gave it a stir. I like mine very vinegary, so if you think it might be too strong, don’t use as much.
I popped the container into the fridge to have for the weekend. Now I can get a scoop whenever I want, on whatever I want. It’s great on toasted ciabatta with goat cheese and balsamic reduction, on a sweet potato, scooped onto mini pita breads, over rice and steak, on a salad, or with tortilla chips right out of the container.
The cherry tomato bruschetta gets better as it’s marinating in the fridge. Just don’t wait too long; it will go sour in a couple of days, so that’s why it’s best to make smaller batches.
Hope you get the chance to make this, because it’s really worth a try, even though slicing all those cherry tomatoes is quite tedious — it is so worth it.