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Italian Bruschetta

Italian Bruschetta


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This little Italian bruschetta appetizer is always a favorite. You can be extremely creative and everyone will love to bite into these crispy toasts with yummy toppings.

I love to use plum tomatoes for this bruschetta. First of all they remind me of my grandmother and they are hearty and can sit for a while in olive oil and still stay firm and tasty.

Notes

Note: If you top each slice with the tomatoes, do it right before serving or the bread may get soggy from the olive oil and vinegar.

Ingredients

  • 8 ripe plum tomatoes
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon good quality olive oil
  • 1 baguette French bread
  • 1 Teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 Teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 Teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

The Best Bruschetta Recipe, Two Different Ways

Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Bruschetta, the Italians' answer to chips and salsa, can make a perfectly healthy beginning to a meal. That's why it's especially shocking to see that restaurants like Carrabba's can turn a simple creation into a full-blown caloric calamity. Start your meal with something like this bruschetta recipe, and you can forget about the rest of dinner (and breakfast the next morning).

Nutrition: 240 calories, 7 g fat (2 g saturated), 410 mg sodium

Serves 4


Italian Bruschetta Bar

Hey, want to make your next party feel like a picnic in Sicily? (We do.) The good news is that there's no need to hire a caterer. You only need a few store-bought ingredients to build this stunning Italian Bruschetta Bar. Don't fuss about the arrangement&mdasha random presentation is the best way to convey that perfect "relaxed afternoon in a vineyard" vibe.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 sweet onion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 loaf crusty bread, thinly sliced

8 ounces spreadable herb cheese

Cornichons, marinated artichoke hearts, pickled peppers and olives, for serving

1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are well caramelized, 30 to 35 minutes. Stir in balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl.

2. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Grill the bread on both sides well, until char marks appear. Set aside.

3. Build your bruschetta bar: Arrange the bread, cheeses, meats, spreads and accompaniments on a large board.

Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.


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Italian Bruschetta Three Ways

Italian Bruschetta Three Ways is a recipe that celebrates one of the most popular appetizers of Italy. Bruschetta is a simple, humble dish but, when made with prime ingredients, is delicious. It is great for an aperitive, a summer party, or any time you need to whip up something yummy. In Italy, “bruschetta” is a piece of toasted bread, flavored with garlic, olive oil and salt – that’s it! You can add several toppings, varying from the classic tomatoes, to different kinds of cheese, cold cuts and vegetables. The name derives from the word “bruscare” which in the Italian dialect spoken in Rome means “to toast a piece of bread”.

I must confess that, when I first started dating Rob, I was horrified when he told me that he thought bruschetta was basically toasted bread covered with a store-bought spread. I thought that he had never tasted real bruschetta, though looking back I think he was probably just teasing me. Bruschetta is a staple of our aperos.

Italian Bruschetta Three Ways includes the classic topping and two others that are not the usual ones you would find on a bruschetta.

Because it is such a simple dish, the quality of ingredients is essential in bruschetta – the flavor of each ingredient is on full display in every bite. I would like to share some tips on how to make a great bruschetta!

Italian Bruschetta essential ingredients

Let’s first talk about the ingredients that are common to all preparations of bruschetta, including Italian Bruschetta Three Ways.

Bread: I suggest a bread that is crusty on the outside and relatively light on the inside. Ciabatta bread is ideal, though a baguette will also work quite well.

Olive oil:For a great bruschetta, you will have to use a great quality of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Its flavor should be delicate and with a low level of acidity – an EVOO from Liguria would be best. The extra virgin olive oil is what makes your bruschetta crispy and yummy.

The bread is the base of the bruschetta, so it will require particular attention. There are 3 steps to prepare the perfect bruschetta bread. First, you need to rub the bread with garlic. Then, you brush it lightly on both sides with olive oil. Finally, you toast it in the oven at maximum heat on both sides until it is golden.

You should always make sure that your toppings are ready when the bruschetta is coming out of the oven – that way you will be serving it when it is warm and crispy!

And now let’s learn more about the Italian Bruschetta Three Ways.

Classic Bruschetta with Tomatoes

For this bruschetta, it is essential to choose the right tomatoes. First of all, they have to be ripe, red and with a firm pulp. The best variety is beef tomatoes, as they are great when you eat them raw. If you cannot find this variety, opt for plum tomatoes.

For this bruschetta, dice the tomatoes into cubes and add some minced garlic, fresh basil, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt.

The salt will make the tomatoes lose their water, so I have two tips to avoid having soggy bruschetta. Put the topping on only right before serving and avoid putting too much of the sauce.

Bruschetta with Bell Peppers, Anchovies & Buffala Mozzarella

For this variation, you will use the Simply Roasted Bell Peppers, Anchovies and Buffala Mozzarella. While I previously shared the recipe for the Bell Peppers, I will now give you more information about the cheese. Buffala Mozzarella is made from buffalo milk and is produced in Campania, in the area between Naples, Salerno and Caserta. The Bourbons from Spain introduced the buffalos to Italy in the 18th century.

The color of this type of mozzarella is porcelain white and, for this reason, it is often called “the pearl of the table”. The skin is thin and the internal part is soft, and it is best to serve it at room temperature. Mozzarella di Bufala is very versatile. You can eat it by itself, in salads, over toasted bread or with pizza, to mention a few of the endless possibilities.

For the anchovies, I suggest you use the best quality of anchovies in a jar that you can find at specialty food stores.

To make this bruschetta, top the toasted bread with mozzarella, and then add a few thin slices of roasted bell pepper, possibly alternating the colors. Finally, top each bruschetta with one anchovy and some basil.

Please note that this variation of bruschetta is delicious even if you leave out the anchovies, as I know that they are too salty for some people.

Bruschetta with Beets & Goat Cheese

This recipe requires a bit of planning ahead as you have to boil the beets (until soft) and let them cool before toasting the bruschetta. Once the beets are boiled and cooled, dice them in small cubes and drizzle them with some olive oil and salt. Put the beets on top of the bruschetta and finish by grating some salted ricotta as a final touch.

Italian Bruschetta 3 Ways substitutions and serving suggestions

The Classic Bruschetta with Tomatoes is suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets.

The Bruschetta with Bell Peppers, Anchovies & Buffala Mozzarella is suitable for pescatarians and vegetarians. For vegans you will have to use only the Bell Peppers.

The Bruschetta with Beets & Salted Ricotta is suitable for vegetarians. To make it vegan you will use only the beets. You could also top with the vegan Arugula Mint Pesto.

For a gluten-free diet, you can sub the bread with its gluten-free version.

All the 3 types of Bruschetta can be part of a great Italian Antipasto Platter. Or you can serve them with a side salad for a light lunch.

Which wine to pair with Bruschetta

Usually we eat bruschetta as a nibble with an apero, so my choice here is very biased, and I suggest the classic Aperol Spritz. The bitter-sweet taste of the Aperol Spritz pairs well with the sweetness of the vegetables and the salty richness of the cheeses in the Italian Bruschetta Three Ways recipes.

If you would like to have wine, a good choice would be a Pinot Grigio from the Veneto region. Its smoothness will enhance the taste of the vegetables.

Another very popular summer pairing is a Rose wine. Its floral and citrus notes will pair well with the tomatoes and the beetroot.


Ingredients for 4 servings

4 slices of Tuscan bread 4 vine tomatoes, garlic, basil, oregano extra-virgin olive oil, salt, black pepper

Method

Carve an X onto the tomatoes with two small cuts and parboil for about 30 seconds, drain and let cool. Remove the skin and cut into four wedges. Eliminate the excess water and seeds.

Cut the wedges of tomato into cubes, place them in a pan with the chopped garlic, hand-torn basil leaves, a pinch of oregano, pinch of salt, black pepper to taste and a little dose of good olive oil. Mix the ingredients well and let them rest to amalgamate the flavors.

Toast the bread on a grill, in the oven or a pan until crispy. Then spread on the mixture and serve.


Since bread is essential to bruschetta it is of utmost importance that it be of good quality. A country-style Italian loaf is preferred, as its texture will hold up to the heat. Sourdough bread is another good option.

The best methods for toasting bruschetta bread is to either use a broiler or a grill.

If broiling:

  • simply slice the bread
  • place it on a sheet pan
  • broil for 2 to 3 minutes per side
  • remove from the oven when the bread is golden brown

If grilling:

  • place the sliced bread on the grill
  • cook over medium-low heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side

The bread can also be cooked in a frying pan placed over medium-high heat.


Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil

Ingredients

  • 6 or 7 ripe tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced* or chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, more or less to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more or less to taste
  • 1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
  • *To thinly slice basil leaves, stack the leaves on top of each other and roll up like a cigar. Then make thin slices from one end of the basil cigar to the other.

Method

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. As the water is heating make shallow cuts in a cross pattern at the tip ends of the tomatoes (this will make the tomatoes easier to peel).

Once the water is boiling, remove the pot from the heat. Put the tomatoes in the hot water and blanch for 1 minute.

Remove with a slotted spoon and let sit until cool enough to handle. Then gently peel off the tomato skins. Cut out the stem base with a paring knife.

Cut the tomatoes into halves or quarters and squeeze out most of the juices and seeds.

to 450°F (230°C) with a rack in the top slot of the oven.

Finely chop the tomatoes and place them in a medium bowl. Mix in the minced garlic, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, and the balsamic vinegar.

Stir in the thinly sliced basil and add salt and freshly ground black pepper, adding more to taste. Note, tomatoes love salt you may need to add more than you expect.

Use a bread knife to slice the baguette on the diagonal making half-inch thick slices. Brush one side of each slice with olive oil (a pastry brush helps here) and place olive oil-side down on a baking sheet or roasting pan.

The baguette slices will toast best in the top rack of your oven, so you may need to work in batches to toast them all.

When the oven has reached 450°F (230°C) place the slices in the oven on the top rack and toast for 5 to 6 minutes until lightly browned around the edges.

If you want you can toast the bread slices without coating them first in olive oil. Toast them until lightly browned on both sides. Then cut a clove of garlic in half and rub over one side of the toast. Then brush with olive oil. (See Easiest Ever Garlic Bread.)

Arrange the toasted bread on a platter, olive oil side facing up (the olive oil will help create a temporary barrier keeping the bread from getting soggy from the chopped tomatoes).

Either serve the toasts plain with a bowl of the tomato bruschetta mixture on the side for people to top their own, or use a spoon to gently top each toasted bread slice with some of the tomato mixture. If you top each slice individually, do it right before serving.


Trio of Bruschetta Spread

Lay out a bruschetta spread with bowls of toppings and piles of grilled bread and let your guests help themselves. This bruschetta with three different toppings will take you less than 15 minutes to put together. And did you know that the the grilled bread for bruschetta is actually best made ahead? So convenient for entertaining!

There are endless bruschetta recipes “out there”. Google “bruschetta recipes” and you’ll be returned with 19.4 million hits. And I’m betting that 98% of them aren’t authentic Italian ones! I don’t judge – I am all for putting your own spin on things, doing modern / western / fusion versions of traditional recipes. And I’ve eaten and made my fair share of non-authentic bruschetta (eg. ricotta with grilled peach drizzled with honey…oh my!). But you can’t beat the real deal, the way it’s made in Italy.

Today I’m sharing three bruschetta recipes, all done properly, learnt from reading cookbooks of Italian masters like Stefano Manfredi and Lidia Bastianich. Nothing fancy about them, just bruschetta done the way Italian Mamas make them every day. This spread will take you less than 15 minutes to put together. Truly, I timed it from start to finish (excluding the time I spent faffing around styling the food to photograph it).

1. Tomato and Basil (click for recipe) – by far the most well known topping, the key is to use juicy, ripe tomatoes. The proper Italian way to make the tomato and basil topping is to serve it just seasoned with salt and pepper with plenty of extra virgin olive oil. No garlic, no lemon, no red wine vinegar. The garlic flavour comes from rubbing the bread with garlic. This is real Italian Tomato and Basil Bruschetta.

2. Celery and Lime (click for recipe) – a unique topping, but I promise you, even celery haters will be converted once they try this. Pureed with lime, garlic, salt, pepper and plenty of extra virgin olive oil, this is incredibly light and fresh and doesn’t have that slight grassy flavour of raw celery that is off-putting for some people. The combination of celery and lime is a revelation.

3. Cannellini Beans with Lemon (click for recipe) – another topping that is not as well known but is as Italian as they come. It takes 2 minutes to make – you simply mash canned cannellini beans (any white beans will work), lemon rind and juice and a splash of olive oil. So creamy. SO GOOD.

To make a great bruschetta, there are 3 rules:

1. Use a great crusty bread – Proper bruschetta is made with slightly stale bread that is grilled over charcoal, preferably ciabatta or a crusty sourdough. The bread needs to toast well so it is crunchy but won’t disintegrate when you bite into it. I read a great tip somewhere to grill the bread the day before then leave it, uncovered, to let it become stale overnight then to reheat them in the oven just prior to serving. This is so convenient for feeding a crowd and makes the bread fantastically crunchy.

2. Rub the bread with garlic – It was a revelation to discover this tip that Italians have been doing for centuries. No more furious mixing of butter with minced garlic! Just lightly rub the toasted bread with a piece of garlic and be enthralled by how good it tastes when topped with a juicy fresh topping.

3. Fresh produce – it goes without saying so I’ll keep this short and sweet: crappy tomatoes = crappy mediocre bruschetta. (PS Still edible. But it just ain’t the same. Just sayin’). Sorry, no way around it. Same goes with any other bruschetta topping made with fresh produce.

Oh wait, I have one more rule:

4. Be generous with the Olive Oil and Seasoning. Now is not the time to count calories. Bruschetta with a teeny drizzle of olive oil is like a sausage roll with a drop of tomato sauce. Just sad. And salt brings out the sweetness of tomatoes as well as drawing out the juice so it can transform an ordinary tomato into a good tomato, and a great tomato into a stellar tomato!

Here are the recipes. I ended up posting them separately to make it easier to find them later.


This combination of rich smoky ham, tangy mustard, melty cheese, and ripe tomato is perfect for a lavish breakfast with a fried egg or served with a bowl of soup.

Sweet caramelized garlic is the star of this extra-savory take on garlic bread.

Since 1995, Epicurious has been the ultimate food resource for the home cook, with daily kitchen tips, fun cooking videos, and, oh yeah, over 33,000 recipes.

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