This stuff should be in the Hall of Fame for all things appetizers. Or maybe it’s just me. It’s just so easy to make and just as easy to consume by the truckload. And since it’s not fried like most appetizers are, you don’t have to feel as guilty (hello onion rings, fried mushrooms, fried tomatoes, mozzarella sticks and garbage fries!)
It’s not that I’m saying all that stuff is evil. I indulge when needed and have no remorse. But for those that want to respect their cholesterol levels, here’s something to consider!
So let’s talk bruschetta. Before we even start salivating, I feel it’s my duty as a foodie-bruschetta-connoisseur-wannabe to point put that it’s pronounced bru-sket-ta. No no no, not bru-shet-ta, I hear that everywhere and it drives me nuts! Why? Because in Italian ‘che’ sounds like ‘ke’. So bruschetta is pronounced as brusketta and not brushetta.
It’s not so much that I’m a food pronunciation nitpicker or fancy pants as it is the fact that this antipasto deserves to be called by its right name. Just like gyro should be pronounced ‘yeer-oh’ and not ‘jai-roh’.
Now how about that quinoa (keen-wah)?
With that off the table let’s talk about how these grilled bread slices are rubbed with garlic and topped with some diced tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and feta cheese. I’m 99% sure there are so many variations of bruschetta out there that it’s hard to nail down what’s truly authentic. But this little gem of a recipe comes from my religious and almost ritualistic ordering of a side of bruschetta every single time I go to my favorite Italian restaurant.
And now that I’ve opened the bruschetta flood gates and have pronounced my undying love for it (properly), I’ll be rolling out more variations this summer. It almost sounds like the stuff you see in the movies. Climatic trailer ending with a cliffhanger and the words ‘Summer 2014’. Bruschetta. Coming to a kitchen near you.
The beauty about this simple bruschetta is how you can customize it. Add more basil, salt or feta if you are partial to either of those or lessen them if you like. I found that adding more feta really brought out the flavor. Also, you can opt out of the garlic rubbing too and just stick with the garlic in the tomato mixture. Whatever you choose! The only part I found tedious was the slicing and dicing. As for the basil, a trick I learned was to stack the leaves on top of one another and roll them up tightly. Then I sliced very thinly to make some green confetti. The professional term is called a chiffonade.
But this healthy appetizer really brings out the best in fresh produce and herbs in neat little bite sized pieces. So the next time you’re wanting a snack, think of this!
The wonderful wonderful bruschetta.
- 1 lb. tomatoes, diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 2 cups basil leaves, finely chopped
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ baguette, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- Combine tomatoes, garlic, basil and olive oil and stir to mix. Season with salt and pepper. Let it sit to marry the flavors while you work on the bread
- Grill the bread slices on both sides until light golden. Cook time will vary depending on the size of your grill
- Rub one side of each slice while it's still hot with the cut side of the garlic clove. Repeat for all slices.
- Spoon the tomato mixture onto each slice of bread and top with feta cheese
- Dish and serve hot