One summer a few years ago, I spent three weeks cycling down the Pacific coast. When it came to meals, a summer trip meant one thing: eating and cooking with summer products. And even though we are ending the warm days, there are still plenty of really good vegetables available.
The beauty of bike touring is that you are able to eat more fresh produce than you would on other types of outdoor adventures. A last-minute shopping spree before you arrive at the campsite means you’re not stuck in the stupor of dehydrated meals every night.
At the end of summer, there were tons of tomatoes overflowing in grocery stores and at every farmer’s market we happened to stumble across. Although plump, ripe tomatoes won’t fare so well packed in a bag or suitcase, they’re easy to fit in a cycling jersey pocket and will add color and flavor to any meal. Another staple in the cycle trip? Bakeries. A hearty loaf of sourdough bread will get you through several lunches and meals, not to mention it’s the perfect camp appetizer: bruschetta.
Bruschetta comes from Italy and is an appetizer that starts with a base of grilled bread rubbed with olive oil and garlic. It can stop there, but typically in the US it tends to be topped with tomatoes.
While tomatoes and basil are a common combination, freshly chopped cilantro adds a unique flavor. This dish will only be as good as the quality of your tomatoes, so take the time to stop by a market, farm stand, or grocery store and get your hands on some colorful heirloom tomatoes. Mixed with cilantro, garlic and sea salt, it makes for a camp appetizer worthy of any urban culinary experience.
This recipe makes enough for about four people. It will also help you make friends with your campsite neighbors, so don’t be shy: share! If you are left with some of the topping mixture and no more bread to put it on, the tomato and cilantro combination is also an excellent addition to pasta.
As a tip, if you’re traveling with someone, it’s a little easier if one is grilling bread and the other is assembling bruschetta. This is especially useful if you want to serve the bruschetta hot.