Authentic Italian Bruschetta Recipe

Since the 15th century, bruschetta has existed. Of course, it comes from central Italy. The word bruschetta derives from the Roman dialect brucare, which means “to roast over coals.” (Thanks to Wikipedia). Many people assume that bruschetta refers to the delicious topping on this Italian snack, but it refers to the grilled bread.

I believe the most traditional type of bruschetta is topped with raw tomatoes and basil, and this is not something that we would typically eat since neither of us likes raw tomatoes. This recipe, however, is not only simple but also inexpensive to make, so we might as well give it a try.

Recent learnings about bruschetta have been enlightening. Authentic bruschetta should be made according to a particular method. Upon making ours, I was pleased to see that our host provided a pretty close recipe to the traditional version. It turns out that this recipe was given to her by a friend who owns a restaurant in Naples.

Grilled Italian bread rubbed with a garlic clove is an authentic bruschetta. It is essential to not overseason the bread or the tomato mixture, particularly by using too much garlic. Make sure to use quality ingredients. A great bruschetta can be made with fresh bread and tomatoes. Add garlic, basil, good olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. It’s not a complicated recipe.

Whole Foods had a delicious-looking Ciabatta loaf that I used. Ciabatta has to be the most rustically Italian thing you can have. However, I wouldn’t mind having it on homemade bread. Instead of just chopping them up raw, we decided to oven roast them to have a better chance of really enjoying them. The result was delicious, and I loved every bite. Garlic is usually all about big flavor, but it played a more subtle role by just being rubbed onto the bread.

You realize what an excellent thing olive oil is when you see dishes like this. Since I have access to a good supply of quality Italian olive oils, I have recently used them to finish dishes. When used in its “raw” form, it lends a beautiful supple richness to the skin. Combined with the tomato juices, it created a delicious sauce for this bruschetta. Yum!

Sadly, I didn’t participate in this month’s challenge because (a) I don’t drink, and (b) I made a batch of limoncello that we’re still working on. You can see how to make it here if you are interested.

The recipe is below. You can skip the roasting process and chop up the raw tomatoes.

(4 servings)

Rustic bread, four slices
Tomatoes, 2 cups Roma
Garlic clove, one clove
Cut four to eight basil leaves into chiffonade
Oil made from extra virgin olives
Salt and pepper

Add salt and pepper to the basil garlic oil or regular olive oil, and toss the tomatoes. Bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes. Allow the tomatoes to cool completely. Remove the skins and chop.
Heat the grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
Cut THICK slices of bread.
Grill bread until each side has a nice golden color.
Each bread piece should be rubbed with garlic.
Then, pile the tomatoes on top, sprinkle generously with salt, drizzle with olive oil, and top with basil.