Bruschetta (pronounced "broo-skeh-ttah") is a traditional Italian dish: well loved and known across the world, it’s cheap, easy, and quick to prepare, yet it tastes a million euros.
Consume your bruschetta as an entree or light lunch during the hottest summer days. Or even as party food, why not!
Since it has only a few ingredients, their quality is paramount: the bread must be freshly baked, and very good quality. For my bruschetta, I choose a loaf of warm sourdough bread from my favourite artisan baker.
The tomatoes must be flavourful, and not too tart: I use Vittoria Piccolo cherry tomatoes, as they have a nice balance between tart and sweet. Other good and tasty varieties are Pomodorino or Sundream tomatoes.
For the garlic: in this recipe, I have suggested only two cloves, although personally I prefer adding much more. If you are not too fond of garlic, only smear the bread with it.
And finally, the olive oil: don’t skip it! The lycopene contained in the tomatoes need healthy fats in order to be assimilated, and it also makes your bruschetta tastier. Always use extra-virgin olive oil, as it is extremely rich in vitamin E and other essential fats, like omega 3 and 6.
Ingredients (4 servings)
500 g freshly baked rustic bread
700 g cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
Extra-virgin olive oil
A few basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Thoroughly wash your tomatoes: let them soak for about 15 minutes in a bowl with a mixture of water and 1 tbsp of bicarbonate, to help remove the pesticides and chemicals from the fruit. Then rinse them under running water and dry them.
2. Cut the tomatoes into eight parts and put them in a bowl, together with one garlic clove (finely chopped), extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside a let it stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, to allow the flavours to blend and fully develop.
3. Cut your loaf of bread into four thick slices: toast both sides under the grill, until lightly golden and slightly crispy. Cut the remaining garlic clove in half, and smear it over one side of each slice.
4. Arrange the bread on a serving plate, garlic side up: spoon the tomatoes all over, and decorate with fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately.
Bruschetta cannot be stored and must be prepared just before you want to eat it, else the bread will become soggy.
To add extra flavour to your bruschetta, try adding some Parmesan shavings or a few cubes of buffalo mozzarella to the tomatoes.
If you have run out of fresh basil, sprinkle a little dried oregano to the tomatoes, then let it stand: delicious.
Silvana Lanzetta. Photo: Private
Silvana Lanzetta was born into a family of pasta makers from Naples and spent 17 years as a part-time apprentice in her grandmother’s pasta factory. She specializes in making pasta entirely by hand and runs regular classes and workshops in London.
Find out more at her website, Pastartist.com, including this recipe and others.