Bruschetta

Jun 03, 2010 by Susana Fare

For people who live in Italy, Bruschetta is a must!

For people of Italian descent, Bruschetta is a regular part of their menu. Even if you’re not Italian or don’t know anything about Italian culture–Bruschetta is a delicious appetizer.

Bruschetta is original grilled garlic bread in the summer, and broiled in the winter. It’s simple to make and especially satisfying when you use high quality ingredients.

Bruschetta probably originated in central Italy around the 15th century. Bruschetta comes from the Roman verb “bruscare,” meaning “to roast over coals.”

Nowadays, in Italy, Bruschetta is often prepared using a brustolina grill. In Tuscany, bruschetta is called fettunta, meaning “oiled slice”.

This classic appetizer consists of bread, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and tomato. It was the food of poor men and for workers to eat, apparently because the workers in the olive fields always had bread with them.

Using a fireplace close to the pressing room, the farmers toasted the bread adding the oil to taste the final product.

Modern Bruschetta can have anything on top of it. The variations are infinite. It depends on the imagination of the person preparing it. I’m particular to using basic ingredients without chopping them, but using them whole and adding a tiny slice of mozzarella cheese. It makes the perfect trio for me. It’s like a Caprese salad already dressed with the bread… and it also has the colors of the Italian flag!

The other Bruschetta has Kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes.

Kalamata olives have more meat and excellent quality than other black varieties. They add a natural and outstanding source of good fat to food.

As for sun-dried tomatoes, they preserve their nutritional value as fresh tomatoes. They are high in Lycopene, antioxidants, vitamin C and low in sodium, fat and calories.

Ingredients:

  • 1 sourdough baguette
  • Garlic cloves, peeled
  • Extra-virgin olive oil to brush bread
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Plum tomato slices
  • Mozzarella slices
  • Kalamata olives, pitted and cut in half
  • Sun-dried tomato julienne (pat dry them if in oil)

Directions:

Preheat oven at 450°F. Slice the baguette on a diagonal about 1/2 inch thick slices. Coat one side of each slice with olive oil using a pastry brush. Place on a cooking sheet, olive oil side down. Place bread slices on a tray in the oven on the top rack. Toast for 5-6 minutes, until the bread just begins to turn golden brown. Then, rub a clove of garlic on each bread slice.

To do it the traditional way, toast bread slices on a grill for 1 minute on each side. Rub some garlic in the slices and drizzle half a teaspoon of olive oil on each slice.

Arrange the bread on a serving platter, olive oil side up. Place one basil leaf, one mozzarella slice, finishing with one tomato slice on top.

For the other version, arrange olives and sun-dried tomato slices in a decorative way. That’s the key of cooking.

Serves: I was able to get almost 30 slices of bread from a single baguette.

Note: Try to assemble Bruschetta right before serving to avoid the bread getting soggy. Be sure to use good quality extra-virgin olive oil.

If you want or need more vegetarian recipes or instructions on different dishes, you can find them here, or at my blog Spanish Steps.

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