• 1 (14.5 oz) can diced, fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp diced onions
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 teaspoons preserved lemon peel, minced
  • 1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • kosher salt
  • freshly-ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped, flat-leaf parsley for garnish

I know what you’re thinking…

Bruschetta?

In winter?

But stick with me.

It may not be the season of tomatoes and fresh basil,the traditional bruschetta building blocks, but it IS the season of Meyer lemons. And I was trying to think of as many ways to use preserved Meyer lemons as possible. I also happened to have tomatoes on the brain, primarily because I had just eaten a salad at a restaurant, and it came with a spattering of tomatoes. But not ripe, red, juicy summer tomatoes. These were pink, tough, tasteless winter tomatoes.

I HATE WINTER TOMATOES. I seriously don’t even know why people bother with fresh tomatoes in the winter. They’re not worth the space they take up on the plate, or the money they cost on your grocery bill. (Or the gas that was used to ship them to your grocer from who-knows-where.) I told my husband I wish restaurants would just pull fresh tomatoes from their menus during winter. Given that this is unlikely, I told him to remind me to order the salad without tomatoes next time. (Until late summer, that is. And at that point, I’ll tell them to hold everything BUT the tomatoes. “JUST A BIG PLATE OF JUICY RED TOMATOES, IF YOU PLEASE.”)

At this time of year, I really prefer canned tomatoes. And not just the home-canned variety. (Although, that obviously is the blue ribbon winner in this contest!) But I’m a preserver and even I don’t have any home-canned tomatoes in my pantry right now. I’m like almost every other preserver out there who ended the season without canning as many tomatoes as I originally intended.

And, honestly, one of the reasons I don’t stress about it too much is because there are some really good commercial options out there. So, that’s how I get through the winter if a recipe calls for tomatoes. I skip the produce section and head to the canned goods aisle.

One of my favorite canned tomatoes to use is this Muir Glen Fire Roasted variety. (This is not a sponsored post, by the way. They’re just yummy and I thought it might be helpful for you to know that.) They add real depth to a dish, so if a chili or soup I’m making calls for canned tomatoes, I usually substitute at least one can of this roasted variety.

And when I was brainstorming ideas for using the preserved lemons, it occurred to me that they could be really great with a roasted tomato bruschetta. And they are!

This is a smokey, lemony take on bruschetta. I love, love, love it. And if you have the extra ten minutes it takes to whip up the toasts in the oven right before, you just might think you’ve died and gone to heaven when you eat it. You can also serve it with your favorite cracker. Or fish. Or chicken. Or anything else your tomato-loving, Meyer-lemon-craving heart desires.

Just a quick note about two steps in this recipe…

I wanted to use onions and garlic in the bruschetta, but felt like softening the flavor edges a bit so the tomatoes and lemons could do most of the talking. After I diced the onions, I poured boiling water over them (through a strainer), followed by cold running water. For the garlic, I roasted it briefly in an iron skillet on the stovetop. (About 5 minutes…. no need to peel or chop it before roasting.) You can skip both of these steps and just add them raw, but I think the final dish is better when these flavors are a little more subtle. You can still taste the onion and garlic, but they don’t come out swinging at you.

Scroll past the recipe for a super quick way to make fresh toast to serve with it.

Now… enjoy this winter bruschetta!

 

Instructions

*See ingredient list at top of page.

1. Dice onions and place in strainer. Pour boiling water over onions, followed immediately by cold running water. Set aside.

2.  Place iron skillet (or other small pan) on medium-high heat. Add unpeeled garlic clove to pan. Roast for approximately 5 minutes, or until garlic is brown in spots. Set aside. Once cool, peel clove and dice garlic.

3.  Drain canned tomatoes well in strainer. Finely dice the tomatoes, and drain one more time. (Even though the tomatoes come diced in the can, they usually are rather large pieces. I like a finely diced tomato for this bruschetta.)

4.  Combine the tomatoes, onion, and garlic in a bowl. Add the jalapeño pepper, lemon peel, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper to bowl. Mix well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes so flavors can meld before serving.

 

Easy, quick toast to serve with bruschetta:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut french baguette into 1/4-inch slices and place on baking sheet.
  3. Brush slices with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.
  4. Roast in oven for 5-8 minutes, or until toasted to your liking.
  5. Spoon bruschetta on toast and garnish with parsley.