Toasted country bread topped with tomatoes has become so popular it is almost a cliché. But when it is made properly with good, chewy bread and ripe tomatoes in season, there really is nothing better. Save this one for the summer tomato season. Here is the basic formula, plus some variations.
Cooking Methodbroiling, grilling
Total Timeunder 15 minutes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cocktail Party
Recipe Courseantipasto/mezze, appetizer, hors d'oeuvre
Dietary Considerationantipasto/mezze, appetizer, hors d'oeuvre
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturecrunchy, herby, juicy, savory
- 2 to 3 medium ripe tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 fresh basil leaves or ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ½-inch slices Italian bread
- 1 garlic clove
Cut the tomatoes in half through the stem end. Cut away the cores. Squeeze out the seeds and juice. Chop the tomatoes into ½-inch pieces.
In a medium bowl toss the tomatoes with the oil and salt and pepper to taste. If using fresh basil, stack the leaves and cut them crosswise into thin ribbons. Add the basil or the oregano to the tomatoes and stir well.
Place a barbecue grill or broiler rack about 5 inches away from the heat source. Preheat the grill or broiler.
Toast the bread on one side until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn the bread and toast the other side, about 2 minutes. Rub it on one side with the garlic clove. Pile on the tomatoes and serve immediately.
Ten Ways to Vary Tomato Bruschetta:
Add finely minced garlic or red or green onion.
Add parsley, mint, or thyme instead of basil.
Add chopped fresh arugula or watercress.
Add diced mozzarella or ricotta salata cheese.
Add pitted chopped black or green olives or capers.
Top with a slice of mozzarella and run the toasts under the broiler.
Top with one or two anchovy fillets.
Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
Add olive oil–packed tuna.
. Top with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
2004 Michele Scicolone