I have to say, this here was probably the best bruschetta I’ve ever had, and I know what you’re thinking, it’s just tomatoes on toast, how the hell can it be any different to the stuff we’ve been eating as a cheap and cheerful starter in almost every Italian restaurant we’ve been to? My answer to you is: I don’t know, it just is. Tender baby squid, fresh tomato, slightly cooked (and plenty of) garlic and spring onion topped with lemon zest and rocket leaves for freshness and drizzled with some amazing olive oil. I guess it’s just that; it’s a dish so simple that investing time in finding really really good ingredients will totally pay off. This dish takes very little time to cook and assemble, and is generally viewed as a bit of a cop-out “no real cooking” plate, but I guarantee you, with the recipe below, you’ll be able to serve this plate as a starter to the most refined of meals… well not the most refined, but pretty damn refined!
Makes 3 bruschette
3 slices of a nice thick ciabatta bread (about 2cm thick)
3 large and ripe tomatoes diced
2 spring onions sliced into discs
3 gloves of garlic, 2 diced and 1 squashed with your kitchen knife
Fresh thyme leaves from 1 – 2 sprigs
8 large fresh basil leaves ripped into 3s by hand
6 medium sized prawns, peeled and deveined
3 baby squid (including tentacles) cleaned and kept whole
Zest of half a lemon
A large handful of rocket leaves
Drizzle some olive oil on both sides of the bread and on a medium high flame, cook each side until just about browned roughly 30s each side. Set aside on the serving plate. In the same pan, add a couple of lugs of olive oil and then add the garlic and onions. Saute them for a couple of minutes (literally a couple) and then add the tomatoes (just add two of the three tomatoes to the pan for now) and cook for another minute or two, then add the prawns with 3/4 of the basil leaves and all the thyme. Toss everything together for about 2-3 minutes (just before the prawns lose all opacity) and then add the squid, and season with salt and pepper. Cook all together for no more than two more minutes then take everything off the heat and place it all in a mixing bowl.
Make sure not to add any of the cooking liquid from the pan into the bowl, but reserve on the side. Two the bowl add the remaining uncooked tomato and the rest of the basil leaves and remove the whole garlic clove that was just squashed with a knife. Adjust your seasoning and then begin to assemble the bruschetta.
Using a small teaspoon drizzle some of the reserved cooking liquid on the toast, and then heap equal portions of the tomato and seafood mix onto the plate (you might want to cup down the prawns into smaller pieces and slice the squid into rings, it’s a personal choice) and then sprinkle each with the lemon zest. Add just a bit of the rocket leaves over each bruschetta and then drizzle everything again with ample amounts of high quality olive oil. It’s really that simple! I hope you enjoy!