A few weeks after we moved to Peru one of my girl friends took me to a little Italian restaurant, La Trattoria de la Esquina, for drinks.   We sipped Pisco Sours, gazed at the ruins from 400 A.D. across the street, and snacked on the most delicious bruschetta I’d ever tasted.

I only went back to La Trattoria once or twice during my year in Lima but I soon learned to recreate the tasty tomatoes in our little apartment kitchen.

Perhaps it seems odd that I fell for an Italian specialty in Peru but the always local and ripe Roma tomatoes, bundles of basil, buckets of olives, and fresh baked crusty bread are cheeeep and plentiful in Lima markets and soon became grocery list staples.

Yesterday I strolled through my garden and returned with these beauties.

With basil blooming in every bed of the garden and tomatoes ripening by the minute I needed to get chopping (and eating!).

Bruschetta actually refers to the toasted and garlic rubbed part of the equation but I am choosing to use the name loosely. 😉

This time I used a few chopped sun dried tomatoes in addition to lots of fresh ones and they added a lovely depth and richness.

I also three in a finely chopped garden cuc for crunch.

And loads of basil.

An assortment of chopped olives, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and ample s+p finished things off.  I forgot the garlic this time!

I recommend serving this bruschetta with some fresh bread at a poolside picnic on a random Thursday afternoon.

And following it up with a little ride through the countryside on a gator.