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What do you get when you take french bread and fresh flavorful Italian ingredients? Bruschetta, while far from the traditional version, this quick and easy bruschetta recipe can be made with easy-to-obtain ingredients and will keep your family coming back for more.
What is a Bruschetta?
Bruschetta (pronounced like broo-sketta) is a toasted or roasted bread dish with garlic and olive oil. Often, additional ingredients like tomato, prosciutto, olives, or cheese are added for flavor. The name bruschetta comes from the latin root “bruscare,” and eventually the Italian word “abbrustolire,” which means to roast (remember, there were no toasters back in those days).
My Approach to Bruschetta
I’m going to be using fresh French bread for my bruschetta recipe. Obviously, that is not very Italian, but it is very easy to find. If you are lucky enough to be able to find fresh ciabatta, then, by all means, you can use that.
However, don’t think you are winning any tradition points. What you may not know is that ciabatta was invented in the 80’s specifically as an Italian response to the French baguette.
What Makes a Good Bruschetta?
A good bruschetta needs to be crisp on the outside, soft to chewy on the inside and must have noticeable flavors of garlic and olive oil. You may think that tomatoes are a requirement in a bruschetta recipe, though you would be surprised to know that tomatoes are a new world cultivar.
This means there were no tomatoes in Europe until the latter half of the 16th century, which was long after the fall of the Roman Empire.
The Challenge with Bruschetta
The number one challenge with your Bruschetta recipe is going to be keeping your bread dry enough to toast. If you have ever microwaved Bagel Bites, you know exactly what I am talking about! Gummy tomato bread is typically not your first choice for an appetizer.
There are two things I can do to help keep my bread dry:
- Toast the bread without toppings. I’ll be doing this to both keep my bread toasty and dry, and also to keep my vegetables as fresh as possible.
- Add oil. As you probably know, oil and water do not mix. By adding a layer of oil, butter, cheese, mayo or any type of fat, it will act like a small raincoat for your toast and prevent water from getting into your bread.
When it comes to developing flavors, I want to take a look at each of the components individually.
- Pick a fresh french white or ciabatta. Get it from the bakery section rather than the bread aisle (the bread aisle packaged bread has was more preservative in it)
- Drizzle with olive oil before toasting
- Rub fresh garlic into the toasted bread to get more garlic flavor into the bread
- Toast with the cheese as well
- Tomatoes, basil, and oregano
- Keep them fresh. I do not want to toast or bake the vegetables to maintain their flavor and contrast with the bread.
Pairing Ideas for Bruschetta
Bruschetta is often served as an antipasto (a starter or appetizer course). As such, other antipastos will all make great pairings, such as olives, cheeses, cured meats, salads. Nowadays, since I don’t really do multicourse meals, bruschetta is more of a side dish and goes very well with other italian dishes such as pasta or lasagna.
- 1 Baguette
- 1 Tomato
- 1 Handful of basil
- 1 Tablespoon Balsamic
- 1 Handful Oregano
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- Parmesan to taste
- Dice tomatoes
- Thinly chop basil and oregano
- Drizzle olive oil on bread
- Toast for 5 minutes in a toaster oven. If you use a conventional oven, broil for 3 minutes or until bread begins to brown
- Top bread with tomatoes, oregano, and basil
- Drizzle with balsamic
- Sprinkle parmesan and serve