A bruschetta is a kind of open sandwich and it’s probably where the idea for cheese on toast originally came from. It’s normally made form a large loaf of sourdough natural yeast bread, which is a dark gray color and has a higher water content than usual in the dough. It also has a thick crust, and because of this, moisture is retained in the bread, meaning it can be used up to a week after purchasing. Have a look around a farmers’ market or in a good supermarket and you should be able to find some. If you can’t, a good-quality round country-style loaf will give you good results.
The bread is best sliced a half-inch thick and toasted on a grill, but it can also be done in a griddle pan for ease at home. After that it should be lightly rubbed a couple of times with a cut clove of garlic, then drizzled with some good extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. The toppings can be as humble or as luxurious as you like, from chopped herbs or a quashed tomato with basil, to marinated vegetables or beautiful cheeses, to lively flaked crabmeat. The only rule is that whatever goes on top of a bruschetta should be nice and fresh and cooked with care.
- 1 loaf sourdough natural yeast bread or good-quality round country style bread
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- 2 nice firm aubergines (eggplants), the round purple Italian ones if possible, sliced lengthways 3mm/about 1/8 inch thick
- Extra virgin olive oil
- White wine or herb vinegar
- 2 sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and finely sliced
- A small handful of fresh mint, leaves picked and finely sliced
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and very finely sliced
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Basic Bruschetta:
If you have a large loaf, cut it in half, then slice it crossways about a half-inch thick. Grill these slices on a grill or in a griddle pan until they are crisp on both sides, then lightly rub each piece a couple of times with a cut clove of garlic. Drizzle with some good extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with a tiny pinch of salt. You can eat the toasted bread just like this, but make sure the oil is the best you can find, otherwise it will never taste good.
For the Aubergine and Mint:
Heat a griddle pan until nice and hot. Lay your aubergine slices on it side by side and when they are nicely charred on both sides, put them into a bowl. You will probably need to do this in several batches. While the aubergines are grilling, put 8 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 tablespoons of vinegar, with the parsley, mint and garlic, into another bowl and season with salt and pepper. When the aubergines are all done, add them to the dressing and mix around, then check the seasoning again and divide onto the bruschetta. Press the topping into the toast so all the lovely flavour gets sucked in!
Serving size is 1 slice, total of 6 slices for the recipe.
Nutritional information is based on using 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil to drizzle on the bread, and includes 1/2 teapsoon of added salt.