The food: Bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes, olive oil and basil
Courtesy of my cousin Anne (thanks again, Anne!), I attended an advance screening of Julie and Julia, which opens Friday August 7, and is, not incidentally, the embodiment of every food blogger’s dream: to get a book deal, and then have the book made into a major motion picture directed by Nora Ephron, Food Hall of Famer for her seminal food novel Heartburn.
I enjoyed the movie, especially Meryl Streep’s turn as Julia Child, and I’ve already printed out the recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon from Mastering the Art of French Cooking that was featured in the movie – the book’s publisher, Knopf Doubleday, has cannily made it available online.
But, to me, the most appealing (and saliva inducing) food in the movie was the bruschetta (which is pronounced brus-ketta, by the way, I looked it up) with fresh tomatoes, made in an early scene by the Julie Powell character (played by Amy Adams), and eaten with great gusto by menschy actor Chris Messina, who plays Powell’s husband, and who, according to an interesting New York Times story about the film’s food styling: “had a great appetite and never complained, even on the day he had to enthusiastically eat bruschetta topped with tomatoes 36 times.”
My version of the movie’s bruschetta uses Ace Bakery rosemary focaccia bread and some heirloom type tomatoes.
First, I fried, yes, fried – like in the movie! – the slices of bread in olive oil.
Then I rubbed the fried bread with a halved garlic clove.
Here are the tomatoes, chopped, seeded where necessary, salted with large flake sea salt, and drizzled with olive oil:
I spooned the tomatoes onto the bread, scattered some chopped basil over top, dug in, said, “This is so good!” and hoped (and very much doubted) that I looked half as attractive with oil and tomato juice dribbling down my chin as Chris Messina does in the movie.
Bruschetta alla Julie and Julia – Recipe
4 slices rough textured bread, such as focaccia, or from a crusty baguette, cut lengthwise
16 oz. assorted heirloom type tomatoes (I used President’s Choice Rainbow heirloom cherry tomatoes) chopped and seeded if the seeds look sketchy
extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
chopped fresh basil
1. Toss tomatoes with 1 T. olive oil and about 1 tsp. sea salt.
2. Fry bread in 2-3 T. olive oil in skillet, browning on each side, and adding 1 more T. oil if necessary.
3. Rub cut half of garlic over 1 side of fried bread.
4. Spoon tomatoes (with oil and accumulated juices) over bread. Top with chopped basil and more sea salt to taste.
5. Eat with plenty of napkins on hand.