Social, Party of One

This bright tomato bruschetta with white bean spread is a snap to make: a perfect starter for a summer dinner party.

Or for an evening in when it’s just you and a marathon of bad TV (Miami Social, anyone?).

Serves 4

4 large, ripe tomatoes
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing bread
1 garlic clove, minced
8 slices Italian loaf bread (sliced  ¾ to 1 inch thick)
1 cup basil leaves

– With a small paring knife, remove the cores from the tomatoes. Cut them in half and, with a small spoon or melon baller, scoop out seeds. Chop tomatoes into ¼ inch-thick chunks and place in colander over bowl or in sink. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and toss. Allow to drain for 10 to 20 minutes.

– Meanwhile, combine 3 tablespoons olive oil with minced garlic in large bowl.  Heat grill to high and evenly brush both sides of each slice of bread with additional olive oil. Grill bread until toasted and marked, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to platter. (Alternatively, heat a panini press and grill bread until crisp and golden).

– Pat tomatoes dry with paper towels and transfer to bowl with garlic oil. Chop the basil leaves (do this last minute to keep them as fresh and flavorful as possible) and toss with tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

– Spread toasted bread with white bean spread (recipe follows) and top with tomatoes. Serve.

Serves 4

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans
2 tablespoons cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper

– Drain and rinse beans in a colander. Shake to remove excess liquid and transfer to a food processor.

– Add oil, garlic, and lemon juice and purée until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

– Transfer to serving dish, sprinkle with pepper and drizzle with additional oil.

You can make the bean spread up to 2 days ahead: Store in an airtight container and cover the top with about 1/8” of olive oil to prevent it from forming a crust. Save the leftovers for more bruschetta or use as a dip for crudités.