Bruschetta: Easy Italian Beauteousness.

8 Nov

For how good it is, bruschetta is easier than it should be. Honestly. Bread, tomato, garlic, olive oil, basil, mozzarella if you can find it. Something magical happens when you toast the bread and assemble the ingredients. Coming back from two weeks in Italy over Spring Break, I lived on bruschetta. It’s cheap. It’s delicious. And it’s pretty good for you, as far as a light lunch or snacks go. It’s perfect for entertaining, and the best way to use up some slightly stale bread.

Italian 101: In Italian, “ch” is pronounced like a “k” sound: bru-SKET-ta.

Ingredients:

  • Good, crusty bread. None of this sliced loaf of Wonderbread crap. Best bet is to go to a fresh market and get a loaf baked that day. A bakery. Something that has not been pre-sliced. This is good bread. Learn what good bread is.
  • Fresh tomato.
  • Fresh garlic.
  • Olive oil.
  • Salt.
  • Basil. Fresh is better, but you could use dried if it’s all you have. For Dubliners who are realising how expensive fresh herbs can be, the Mediterranean market on Thomas Street has really cheap fresh basil.
  • Mozzarella, if you want it. Again, fresh–not shredded.

Assemblage:

Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius (375 Fahrenheit, but you’re on metric now).

Slice bread a little less than an inch thick. Toast in the oven until lightly browned. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t get too dark.

While bread is toasting, chop your tomato into centimeter cubes. Cut or scoop the seeds out; you don’t want those. They have no place in your bruschetta.

Slice your basil into thin strips/ribbons (the easiest way to do this is to chiffonade: roll up a few basil leaves together and slice them crosswise). It’s actually better to tear basil, generally, because slicing it bruises it. Unless you have an unbelievably sharp knife. Let’s face it–you don’t have an unbelievably sharp knife. But you could slice it if you wanted to.

When your bread is done toasting, you’re ready to start assembling your bruschetta. Take the papery skin off your clove of garlic, chop it in half, and rub it on one side of your bread. This trick is magical: even coverage and no big, bitter bites of diced garlic. Toss your diced tomato on your garlic-rubbed bread. If you are adding mozzarella, toss your cheese on there, too.  Sprinkle some basil atop your tomato. Now, here’s where it gets really good: drizzle olive oil over your bruschetta and sprinkle salt to taste. Let it sit for a minute or two to allow the olive oil to sink into the bread. It’s delicious.

Prego. Bruschetta.

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