Always the perfect appetizer or accompaniment to delicious soup, our simple, easy and delicious Bruschetta recipe is so much more than tomatoes on toast!
There’s a good reason why bruschetta is a very popular appetizer. Besides being super simple to make and loaded with flavor, bruschetta is richly satisfying and easy to adapt with fresh herbs, prosciutto, vegetables, beans and cheese. There may be a million different bruschetta recipes in the world, but the simple combination of tomatoes, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and fresh basil is my authentic favorite.
A traditional first course in an Italian meal, bruschetta is also fun to make together as a couple or small group. The tomatoes are easily made ahead and left at room temperature to marinate. While a Rich & Meaty Classic Lasagna is in the oven, or the Italian Meatballs simmer on the stove, grill or pan fry thick slices of Italian bread with plenty of olive oil, until toasty brown. The bruschetta may look dry, but has a texture similar to grilled cheese. Soft but toasty, crisp on the outside but not at all dry … so delicious! After the bread is warm and crispy, rub one side of the toast with the cut side of a large, fresh clove of garlic. You won’t believe how much flavor you can impart with that one simple step.
Everything about this recipe is non-negotiable for me. One is par-boiling the tomatoes, then peeling before chopping. The tomatoes are not cooked through, just flash boiled enough to make them easy to peel. With a sharp paring knife, make a shallow X on the bottom of each tomato then carefully ease them into a pot of boiling water. Cook for 30 seconds or until the skin starts to pull away at the spot where you made the X. Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon and place them in a bowl filled with ice water to stop the cooking. Now the tomatoes are super easy to peel and ready to marinate!
Other must have components are fresh garlic, good quality balsamic vinegar and fresh pungent basil, and plenty of it. Nothing replaces the flavor of fresh basil. I keep a basil plant in my kitchen window year round and always find ways to incorporate it into my cooking. Basil is used world-wide in all kinds of dishes from Italian to Thai, it’s a favorite everywhere!
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- 2 medium whole tomatoes, parboiled, skinned and rough chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- dash salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar (optional but best for winter tomatoes)
- 1 teaspoon good balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon basil leaves, julienned
- 4 thick slices of Italian loaf bread, like Pane, etc
- 1 large clove garlic, sliced in half lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Using a small paring knife, cut a small X on the bottom of the tomatoes. Fill a medium, deep saucepan with water enough to cover the tomatoes. Bring to a boil then add the two tomatoes. Parboil for about 30 seconds or until the tomato peel starts to curl at the cut marks. Remove the tomatoes from the saucepan and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Once cooled, remove from the water, peel and rough chop. Place the chopped tomatoes to a small bowl then drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil, and the salt, pepper, sugar, vinegar and basil. Leave at room temperature (tossing occasionally) while preparing the toast.
Warm a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the four slices of bread to the skillet turning to coat both sides in the oil. Cook until the bread is golden brown on both sides. Remove from the skillet and rub one side of the toast with the cut side of a large, fresh clove of garlic. Be generous with the garlic rub! Transfer the toast to a platter and top with the tomato mixture, additional small fresh basil leaves and grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
- A little bit of granulated sugar helps sweeten winter tomatoes.
- Use ripe fresh tomatoes for best results.
We love Italian food and it’s always nice to have a relaxed weekend meal complete with appetizer. I love these super easy Antipasto Skewers from The View from Great Island – just the right bite before a lovely meal. These Crispy Italian Ranch Cups from Garnish with Lemon are calling my name, so creative and no doubt delicious! I’m also in love with these Melon and Prosciutto Skewers from That Skinny Chick Can Bake – super simple and so much flavor, I can’t wait to try them. One of my all-time favorite restaurant appetizers is Roasted Garlic & Herb Dipping Oil and I need to try this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker asap!
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