Although I am still waiting for my own tomatoes to ripen – there’s a cluster of cherries that have gone orange but not fully red yet, and the Cherokees are still a week off at least – I couldn’t resist making this favorite summer dinner which required buying heirlooms from our market.  On a hot night, only the minimum amount of cooking is bearable, and fresh summery flavors are the only things that sound appetizing.  This dinner may look familiar to those who’ve seen the movie Julie and Julia.  When I saw it lovingly and lusciously portrayed in the late Nora Ephron’s wonderful final movie, I simply had to work it in to my repertoire.

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Nora’s Big Bruschetta and Asparagus Dinner

To make the bruschetta, in a non-metallic bowl, mix together

  • 3 large, ripe heirloom tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 10 medium to large basil leaves, cut chiffonade
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons each of balsamic vinegar and olive oild
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Set the bruschetta aside. It will become more delicious as it sits and the flavors mingle.

Very lightly saute fresh asparagus in olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper. As that is cooking, fry 4 slices of fresh sourdough in enough olive oil to render each side a golden brown. Arrange the slices on a plate. Remove the asparagus, which should be cooked but still slightly crunchy, arrange on a serving dish, and garnish with strips of prosciutto.  Then generously spoon the bruschetta onto the toasts, garnish with pine nuts if you like, and serve!

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