Tomatoes chopped and spooned onto toasted pieces of bread isn’t exactly new, just about every Italian restaurant has something like this on the menu. However grating ripe tomatoes and allowing the liquid to drain off gives a delicious intensity of flavour, which is what is needed in a one bite canapé - and it is far easier to get into your mouth. This is perfect for casual entertaining either as a canapé or with larger pieces of ciabatta as a starter.
Ingredients - makes 20 approximately
5 largish ripe tomatoes
0.5 loaf ciabatta
6 large fresh basil leaves, shredded and several smaller ones to decorate
Seasoning to taste
0.5 tsp sugar (more or less depending on how naturally sweet the tomatoes are)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic - optional
Halve, remove the core and then grate the tomatoes on the coarse side of a box grater. Discard the skin.
Place the remaining tomato pulp in a sieve and allow the liquid to drain away for an hour or longer. This not only dramatically intensifies the tomato flavour, but keeps the ciabatta from getting too soggy.
Heat oven to 190°c. Cut the ciabatta into even size pieces. This is meant to be quite a casual nibble, so there is no need to be too exact.
Brush the ciabatta pieces with olive oil and bake for 8 minutes until they are golden and crispy. Take out of the oven and rub with the garlic clove if using. Cool.
When the tomatoes have drained, season with salt, pepper and a little caster sugar, to taste. Stir in the shredded basil leaves.
An hour or so before serving, spoon some tomato on top of each ciabatta piece and top with a basil leaf.