In preparation for the dinner I mentioned in this post, I was flipping through my old copy of Jamie’s Italy in search of inspiration, and found myself salivating over the bruschettas. Seeing as I am in Lagos, with no hope of popping into one of his restaurants or indeed to Italy itself, I decided to make my own, but with a Nigerian twist. I can easily get crusty bread and imported tomatoes here by popping into any of the supermarkets, but I really wanted to re-imagine this dish in a uniquely Naija way, so I decided to use tomatoes bought from Itedo market near home in Lekki and agege bread which is baked fresh every day, and sold by hawkers on the street. When it is fresh, it is some of the mose amazing bread in the world. I don’t know why it isn’t more celebrated….
2 N70- or N80-sized loaves of Agege Bread, bought fresh on the day
About 10 tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 sprigs of spring onion, chopped
5 chunks of sundried peppers in oil
2 cloves of garlic, cut in half
A good squeeze of lemon or lime
Some white wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper to taste
- Wash and dry the tomatoes, then cut each one into two, lengthways. Take each half and slice as thinly as you can. This will make it easier to pile onto the agege bread later. Place the tomatoes in a bowl and set aside
- Pick out the amount of sundried peppers you want to use, chop and add to the tomatoes. They provide a nice contrast to the tartness of the tomatoes. I think I picked these up from L’epicerie in VI.
- Sprinkle over the spring onions
- Squeeze over the lemon or lime, add a dash of vinegar, and some salt.
- Mix well, cover, and put in the fridge
- With a sharp bread knife, very carefully peel off the crust of the agege bread as it is sometimes a bit sandy
- Cut the bread into thick slices. I got about 9 slices from each loaf by cutting lengthways twice, and then across in a 3×3 pattern
- Now toast the bread in a griddle pan or under the grill. As soon as the bread is toasted, rub the cut garlic over it to transfer the flavour
- Get the tomato topping out of the fridge and pile a good amount on each piece of bread
- Now season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and a good drizzle of olive oil.
- Serve on a board so everyone can dig in, and enjoy. Om nom nom….
My mini-mantra of the moment is #tomatoesarenotonlyforstew and this turned out really well. It was absolutely delicious. I am inspired to try a few other toppings. Ladies and gentlemen, let me know if you try these bruschettas at home, I am sure you will love them!