Today’s recipe is one that I stole and adapted from my mother. (Though to be fair, my mom is generous enough to give it to me – stealing makes it sound much more dangerous.) When I was growing up, she used to make what we called ‘tomato bread’ about once a month, which wasn’t nearly enough for me. There’s something addictive about garlic, butter, salt, and tomatoes on crusty bread.
When I got to college, I discovered pesto and a light bulb went off in my head. The name for what follows isn’t particularly catchy, but the flavours are addictive as hell and it’s easy food for a meal for two (with leftovers) or for a party appetizer.
This is what we start with.
1 loaf of wide, crusty bread (Ciabatta, crusty Italian, French, pain de champagne – they all work)
4-8 fresh Tomatoes (Roma probably work best, but use whatever you like)
Prosciutto (Optional element of unnecessary awesome)
The one large complication in writing this recipe is that the amounts are really difficult to determine ahead of time because how much you need depends entirely on how big your bread is.
Step 1 : Cut the bread in half
Step 2 : Put a thin layer of butter on the bread. Then add a thin layer of pesto. Next apply a very light coat of garlic powder to the bread, then do the same with the salt.
Step 3 : Cut the tomatoes into slices and layer them onto the bread.
Step 4 : Cover the bread in grated cheese.
Optional Step: Add prosciutto on top
Step 5 : Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes at 200C/400F or until the cheese gets golden brown.
And that is what you end up with. As you can see, it’s extremely simple to make and churns out a bunch of food with minimal time or effort. My friends like it enough to request it for parties and picnics, and it even revives well after having been in the fridge for a night or two (mmm, zombie bread). Just toss it in the oven at 160ish/300 for fifteen minutes to reheat.
Quick notes on some questions I received:
You can use butter or margarine – for this recipe I’m not picky. If you have really oily pesto, you could potentially just use that, but I have tried it that way and prefer butter.
Store-bought cheap pesto out of a jar is perfectly acceptable.
You can use garlic salt if you want to. However, I tend to want to know exactly how much salt I am adding to things these days, so use garlic powder plus kosher salt instead. I also found when living in high humidity countries that garlic salt is annoyingly clumpy.