Tomato Toast with a Rustic Sicilian Sauce

Words and image Kathy Paterson

Resplendent basil plants mirror summer and a couple of large handfuls will be enough to make the ever-so-popular basil pesto.
However, give me a perfectly ripe tomato, a full-flavoured, grassy extra virgin olive oil, and a few basil leaves and I’m very happy. For a quick, satisfying dinner, add some cooked dried spaghetti.

The rustic Sicilian sauce is made using three herbs, which all add to the summer vibe of tomatoes on toast. The sauce is brilliant with barbecued fish too.

Serves 4 as a shared starter

Rustic Sicilian Sauce
1 clove garlic
2 handfuls of mixed fresh herbs (I use basil, oregano and flat leaf parsley leaves)
1 lemon
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Tomato Toast
1 loaf ciabatta, sourdough bread or baguette, sliced
about 4 ripe tomatoes, halved (you will need half a tomato per slice of bread)
extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
a few extra basil leaves

To make the sauce, put the garlic, herbs, and a good pinch of salt in a small food processor and roughly chop (or use a mortar and pestle). Add the juice of half the lemon and, with the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Taste, adding extra lemon juice and salt, if needed. Pour into a clean, screw top jar.

Meanwhile, heat a char grill or a barbecue grill until hot.

Grill the bread slices until hot and dark grill lines appear. Squeeze the cut side of the tomatoes over the grilled bread then drizzle with a little of the sauce. Finish the tomato toast with a splash of olive oil and a few extra basil leaves.

Serve straightaway so the bread is warm. Pass the salt and pepper.

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