Nigel Slater’s recipe for bruschetta, tomatoes and herb cheese

A crisp and crunchy, soft and succulent swift little treat for midweek

Rasie a toast: bruschetta, tomatoes and herb cheese.
Rasie a toast: bruschetta, tomatoes and herb cheese. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

The recipe

A substantial “something on toast”, with thick-cut sourdough or ciabatta under a mound of herb-flecked cream cheese and grilled tomatoes.

Finely chop enough parsley to give you 2 heaped tbsp, then do the same with basil, and then mix them together and put them in a bowl.

Add 200g of mascarpone to the herbs, then stir in 2 tbsp of white wine vinegar and 1 tsp of capers, and set aside. Finely slice 3 thin spring onions, then add them to the mascarpone and herbs. Grind in a little salt and black pepper.

Get an overhead (oven) grill hot. Slice 200g of tomatoes in half and put them in a single layer on a grill pan or baking sheet. Rub their cut sides with a little olive oil, season lightly, then cook for 5 minutes under the hot grill until they are soft and their skins have started to blacken. Remove from the heat.

Toast 4 slices of sourdough or focaccia on both sides. While the bread is still hot, divide the herb cream cheese among them, then place the tomatoes on top, and serve. Enough for 2

The trick

Parsley seems to have a grounding effect on the other herbs, making sure no one herb dominates. With that in mind, I include flat-leaf parsley (not the tufted variety) in the mix. Then it is very much up to what you have. I like to put basil in if tomatoes are involved, or perhaps finely chopped tarragon. Make sure the tomatoes are hot. Their heat will soften and slightly melt the cream cheese into the toast.

The twist

I have made this dish using aubergines instead of tomatoes. Cut the aubergines into small cubes, toss them in olive oil that you have seasoned with crushed garlic, dried thyme and a pinch of cinnamon, then fry gently in oil until lightly crisp on the outside and soft within. With the aubergines, I use chopped mint and basil in the cheese.

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