Here’s a lovely, simple summer’s “meal,” fresh and light and perfect for eating outside. Grilled bread. Yep, grilled bread, warm, crusty/chewy, a little garlicky/salty, ready to be topped with any number of tasties, or served floating in a bowl of simple soup. Or with nothing at all, of course, it’s that good.
Buy a loaf of good Italian country bread, one with a thick crust and dense, chewy interior. Slice it 3/4-inch thick and lay the slices out on a baking sheet. Brush (or drizzle) both sides of each slice lightly with extra-virgin olive oil. Grill on a medium-hot grill for a few minutes on each side, enough to toast it a bit but not dry it out. As soon as the slices come off the grill, rub each with a halved garlic clove. Sprinkle lightly with coarse salt and voila, heavenly grilled bread. Serve alongside a simple salad of arugula tossed with shaved parm, vinaigrette, and a little salt and pepper, and a plate of deli goodies like thin slices of imported salami, roasted red peppers, cheeses, and olive tapenade. (Insert any other favorite spreads/vegetables/meats, they’d all be delicious accompaniments.) Thread a few skewers of cherry tomatoes to grill alongside the bread – brush them with a bit of the same olive oil, sprinkle with coarse salt, and grill until starting to brown and pop open. Killer on warm bread, yeah. Or, even easier, if they’re in season, go for slices of perfectly ripe garden tomato – it’ll put the stale, over-played bruschetta we’ve all had a million times to shame. Summer on a plate, my friends, summer on a plate. Absolutely enjoy outside, with a glass of wine – toast me as you say ahhhhh… Cheers!