Bruschetta is a classic Italian antipasto or appetizer dish. It is an easy dish to put together at home with some rustic bread slices, tomatoes, olive oil, herbs and garlic.
What is Bruschetta?
Pronounced as brusketta and not brushetta, it refers to the toasted bread slices and not the topping. Rustic medium bread slices are used. The slices are toasted, grilled or pan toasted. Garlic is rubbed over the slices. Alternately, brush the slices with garlic infused olive oil. This appetizer actually originates from Tuscany region in Italy.
During the BBQ season, toast slices on the grill. Rub slices of bread with olive oil and the grill. Grill on medium for 1-2 minutes, turning the slices in between. Have a variety of topping ready and guests can help themselves to it.
Which Breads Work Well
The best choice is ciabatta. But go ahead and use any rustic bread with a good crust of your choice. A larger baguette, sourdough bread, normal sandwich bread sliced about ½ inch thick, etc. Best to use bread that is at least a day old.
Topping For Bruschetta
While the classic topping is tomatoes, fresh basil drizzled with olive oil, sprinkle of salt and pepper, there are so many other toppings you can use.
- Add chopped onion for some crunch.
- Add vegetables of your choice. Beetroot, roasted carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms, etc.
- Add some cheese. Either grill the cheese on the toast or sprinkle some on it.
- Grilled tomatoes and olives.
- Grilled eggplant.
- Add other fruits along with tomatoes, herbs, olive oil. I love making Watermelon Bruschetta with feta and olives.
- Spread some mashed avocado over the bruschetta before adding the topping like I do for mashed avocado and tomato bruschetta.
- Grapes and Gorgonzola.
- Add meat like bacon, ham, chicken, fish.
- I love apple, brie and walnut topped bruschetta.
- For dessert bruschetta spread nutella and top it with fruits and nuts.
- Caramelize onion with paneer and spices makes a lovely fusion bruschetta.
- Use pesto as a spread and top with some tomato and mozzarella.
- Garlic butter toasted bruschetta with toppings.
- Smashed beans make an excellent topping.
The options are endless, just get creative with ingredients you have.
Can You Prepare Bruschetta Ahead?
You can prepare the toppings ahead and keep it ready. Add salt to the topping just before serving so that it does not go all watery.
As for preparing the bread slices with the toppings ahead, well not a good idea as the bread will go all soggy. When I prepare bruschetta for a party, I prefer leaving the topping on the side and guests help themselves.
My Recipe For Easy Basic Bruschetta
I lightly toast the bread slices under the broiler or in a toaster. Then heat the olive oil in a pan, add minced garlic and stir fry till you get the aroma of cooked garlic. Use the garlic infused olive oil to brush the bread slices. The rest I add to the topping.
Topping: I like to use chopped tomatoes, mixed fresh herbs like basil, cilantro and flat parsley. Add some finely chopped onion for a bit of crunch. Drizzle the garlic infused olive oil over it.
Ingredients Required For Bruschetta
- Bread Slices – best to cut the slices about ½ inch thick.
- Fresh Tomatoes – use roma, baby tomatoes, roasted tomatoes. If you use roma or beefsteak tomatoes, then remove the pulp. Don’t throw it away. Use it up in soups, curries, stews,etc.
- Onion – finely chopped. Optional, you can omit it if you want to.
- Fresh Herbs – I usually use whatever I have at hand. For this recipe I had some coriander/cilantro, flat parsley and basil. Tasted good with fresh mint, thyme, oregano too. If you use rosemary best to saute it with the garlic or chop it finely.
- Olive oil – for brushing the bread slices and some to drizzle on the topping.
- Salt – add according to your taste.
- Black Pepper Powder – add according to your taste.
- Parmesan Cheese – finely grated.
- 12 slices of bread
- 2 large tomatoes diced
- 1 small onion about 1/4 cup chopped
- 1-2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp parsley finely chopped
- 1 tbsp coriander/cilantro finely chopped
- 8-10 basil leaves chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper powder
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese grated
- Heat oil in a pan over low to medium heat. When it becomes a little hot, add the garlic.
- Saute for a few seconds, till the garlic gives out an aroma and is light pink in colour.
- Take the pan off the heat.
- Switch on the broiler to hot.
- Cut the bread into slices that are about ½ inch thick.
- Brush the slices with the garlic infused olive oil.
- Arrange them on a baking tray.
- Allow the bread to toast under the broiler or grill for 5 minutes or till lightly toasted.
- Remove the bread slices from the oven.
PREPARATION OF THE TOPPING:
- Mix chopped tomatoes, onion, herbs, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.
PREPARATION OF THE APPETIZER:
- Arrange the toasted bread slices or bruschetta on a serving tray.
- Top them with the topping.
- Drizzle the remaining garlic infused olive oil over the topping.
- Sprinkle some parmesan cheese.
- Serve immediately.
- Alternately, serve the toasted slices and topping separately. Guests can add the topping on their own.
- Add chopped green chilli for a different taste.
- Remove the pulp if you are using normal tomatoes. Use the pulp up in a soup, dal, curry, etc.
- Replace parmesan with cheddar, mozzarella, feta, etc. Any cheese of your choice.
- Add fresh herbs of your choice.
- Toast the bread on a hot pan/skillet if you don't want to use the broiler or grill.
An excellent accompaniment to a plain soup or stew.
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