When I was a kid, summertime was the happiest season of the year because it meant swimming, sleeping in, and most importantly, no school. Oh, and the food. The FOOD. Even though the weather is mostly fine year round in Southern California, summer was the only time my family would grill and eat out in the open air. Ice cream, popsicles and other frozen treats would make the occasional appearance in our house, which was otherwise largely sweets-free. Most vividly, I remember eating heaps of delicious fresh fruits and vegetables–grapes, cherries, mangoes, strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, watermelon, peaches. Why is it that all the best fruits at the same time, for only one season a year?
These peach and tomato crostini have summer written all over them. The bread can be toasted in the oven, but is even more delicious when slightly charred on a grill. Both peaches and tomatoes are at the height of their ripeness this season, deeply flavored and gorgeously textured. Good peaches are lush and sweet, with just a hint of acidity in their velvety flesh. Tomatoes, which are largely flavorless throughout the rest of the year, are richly fragrant for these few short months. The combination of the two results in a bite that is brightly sweet and mildly tangy, full of juice and firm, silky texture.
As always, pick produce that is of the best quality that you can find. Peaches should be extremely fragrant–ideally, the scent should stop you in your tracks as you walk through the market. Leave them to ripen until the flesh is slightly tender and has some give when gently squeezed. The best tomatoes I’ve ever had were from friends’ gardens or the farmers’ market, but this year I’ve had a few from the grocery store that were pretty good. For me, as with peaches, scent is the best indicator of a tomato’s potential for flavor. If a tomato doesn’t give off a sweet, complex, tomato-ey scent in the store, don’t buy it.
- 2 medium, ripe tomatoes
- 2 medium, ripe yellow peaches
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 french baguette
- 1. Dice the tomatoes and peaches, and combine with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Let chill in refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
- 2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the garlic, cooking for 1-2 minutes, or until garlic is browned, but not burned. Slice the baguette into 1/4 inch rounds, and brush each slice with oil. Toast in the oven or grill on the oiled side until crispy on top, but still slightly soft on the bottom.
- 3. Top each crostini with the peach-tomato topping, and let sit for a few minutes to allow the juices to soak into the crostini before serving.