Bruschetta of Cherry Tomatoes

By CHEF HOWARD KARP for the Flathead Beacon

This probably is my favorite summer bruschetta dish. Take grilled Greek olive ciabatta bread; spread with garlic lemon aioli; top with a towering pyramid of halved red, green, orange and striped heirloom tomatoes marinated in an extra virgin olive oil dressing with a splash of vinegar to accentuate its magnificent flavors; and finish with a small scoop of ricotta cheese with fava beans and shaved sheep’s milk Pecorino. What you end up with is a refreshing and delicious dish that will make you say “ahhhhhhh.” Follow it with a grilled marinated rib eye steak, and you have the perfect meal for a warm summer evening.

Yield: 6 Servings

Plan ahead: the tomatoes should be marinated for about an hour.


You will need:

1 pound of heirloom tomatoes of varying sizes and color

1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced

1 bunch opal basil (2 ounces)

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Course sea salt and ground white pepper

6 1/2-inch thick slices country bread, such as olive ciabatta

1/4 cup aioli (recipe below)

1/2 cup fava beans, cooked and peeled

2 ounces Ricotta cheese (ice cream scoop) per serving

4 ounces shaved Pecorino Toscano

Using a sharp knife, cut the larger tomatoes into wedges and the smaller tomatoes in half or leave whole. Transfer tomatoes to stainless steel bowl. Add shallots and garlic. Toss gently. Chiffonade the basil, and add to bowl. Add the oil and vinegars, and season with salt and pepper. Toss, and allow it to sit at room temperature for one hour.

Lightly grill the bread slices. Cool slightly, and spread with aioli. Set a slice in the center of the plate. Add beans to the tomato mixture. Spoon mixture on top of bread. Scoop ricotta onto tomatoes. Sprinkle the shaved pecorino and drizzle remaining marinade onto the bruschetta.

Lemon Aioli

Yield: Approximately 1 cup

You will need:

1 large egg yolk, room temperature

1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest, minced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground

1 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Course sea salt to taste

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolk, lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, garlic and pepper.

Combine canola oil with olive oil. Whisk the oil, drop by drop, into the egg mixture to create an emulsion. Once it thickens, speed the remaining oil. Season with salt. If mixture is too thick, thin with a little bit of lemon juice.

With our warm summer evenings, I hope you will try this recipe.