How to Make Bruschetta, Easy Recipe and Toppings
Bruschetta is an Italian antipasto dating from about the 15th century. It is a simple dish that has to be made properly, with fresh ingredients, to enjoy the full flavour and texture. It is made from crusty white Italian Bread that is grilled or roasted, then rubbed with fresh garlic and topped with extra-virgin olive oil, pepper and salt. Bruschetta is usually served as an appetizer or snack, and is popular as a party food. Variations include the addition of many toppings including spicy red pepper, vegetables, tomato, beans, ham and various other cured meat, and a variety of cheeses. Probably the most popular recipe involves garlic, fresh basil leaves, fresh tomato, and perhaps onion or mozzarella.
Tasting a homemade bruschetta made with fresh ingredients is memorable eating experiences that far exceeds the tired and lifeless versions served at many restaurants. This article includes a recipe and tips for making the perfect homemade bruschetta.
Tasting a homemade bruschetta made with fresh ingredients is memorable eating experiences that far exceeds the tired and lifeless versions served at many restaurants. There several tips for the perfect homemade bruschetta.
The Bread - Choose crusty Italian country bread that is thickly sliced.
Toasting the Bread - Toast both sides of the bread over hot fragrant coal on a barbecue or open fire. Otherwise use a cast-iron ridged griddle or as a last resort an ordinary domestic grill set on high so that the bread is close to the flame or element. You need high heat and the bread should be a deep brown with occasional much darker patches on the outside crust areas. This adds flavour to the bread.
Rubbing with Garlic - Make several slashes with a knife along the surface of each piece of bread. This is important as it allows the garlic and olive oil to penetrate slightly into the bread. The surface is then rubbed with a peeled clove of garlic. Try to get large cloves of garlic as this makes it easier.
The Olive Oil - You need high quality Italian extra virgin olive oil or an equivalent varietal local olive oil that is bursting with flavour. Sprinkle or drizzle the oil, quite freely so that it runs across the surface into the bread, and little pools of oil are left all around the base of the plate where it has gone right through.
The Toppings - Done properly the basic bruschetta is perfect as is, with salt and freshly crushed black pepper. But if you must have topping then you will need very red, very fresh and ripe, firm tomatoes at room temperature and fresh crisp basil leaves (not limp and tired). The best ingredients are picked straight from the garden. Halved cheery tomatoes can be busting with flavour and provide a different texture to standard tomatoes. Try to avoid the thick skinned supermarket tomatoes that are coarse and have no flavour.
Recipe: Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil
Makes 12, sufficient for 4-6 people
- 1 ciabatta loaf, cut in 12 thin to moderate slices. Or choose a similar crusty bread with moderately large cavities or 'bubbles' when cut.
- 1 large clove garlic, freshly peeled and rubbed in salt
- about 5 tablespoons or high quality extra virgin olive oil
- Topping Ingredients:
- 5-6 red, plump and ripe tomatoes or 18 plum cherry tomatoes, halved
- several torn basil leaves
- extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt
- freshly milled black pepper
- Prepare the tomatoes by placing them in a bow or boiling water. Leave them for 1 minute, then drain and slip off the skins and chop them finely. Cherry tomatoes can be halved and gently roasted, grilled or fried very briefly until the skins just start to wrinkle.
- Heat the griddle over high heat for about 10-15 minutes or prepare the barbecue set to high heat.
- Position the bread slices diagonally across the griddle, and cook them for about 45-60 seconds on each side. They should be a golden color all over, dry and crisp with charred strips across each face of the bread, and the crust should show darker patches. (Alternatively, toast them under a conventional grill.)
- When the slices are toasted use a very sharp knife to cut 3 little slashes across each side of the read slice and rub the garlic all over the surface of the bread. Drizzle or sprinkle olive oil (about half a tablespoon) of over each surface of the bread.
- Top with the prepared tomatoes and basil leaves. Add salt and freshly milled black pepper and add a few more drops of olive oil to the surface before serving.
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