Bruschetta is one of my favorite appetizers, and it’s so simple and quick to make which renders it even more appealing! It’s great in the summer and a wonderful way to highlight the freshness and quality of good cherry tomatoes and mozzarella. Bruschetta Caprese is made by adding mozzarella to the tomatoes, while Bruschetta Classica, or classic Bruschetta, is just with tomato and basil.
The Italian shared with me a little secret to making bruschetta even more wonderful – scraping cloves of garlic onto the crusty bread before topping it with the tomato/mozzarella mixture. The garlic adds a nice tang, bringing out the softer flavors of the tomatoes and mozzarella.
To make this a truly Italian-centric post I’ll add a side note about the correct pronunciation of “bruschetta”. A lot of times in the US or UK people will call this amazing appetizer bruSHetta. However, in the Italian language the combination of the three letters “che” makes a hard “k” sound rather than a softer “sh” sound. So, a real Italian would say “brusKetta”. The same goes for the word “pistacchio”, although, at least while speaking English I can’t quite bring myself to say “pistakio” (much to the dismay of the Italian!)
- 10 plum tomatoes
- 1-2 balls of fresh mozzarella
- 2-3 cloves garlic, whole
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped.
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread
Pre-heat oven to 450F (230C). Slice the baguette on a diagonal about 1/2 inch thick slices. Place the slices on a cooking sheet and top with a drop of olive oil. Toast them in the top rack in your oven for 5-6 minutes, or until the bread just begins to turn golden brown.
Finely chop the tomatoes and mozzarella. Place in bowl and add 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and mix. Add the chopped basil and salt and pepper to taste.
Place bread and bowl of tomato/mozzarella mixture on a serving platter, along with the cloves of garlic. Guests can either assemble their own bruschetta by first rubbing the garlic clove on the bread and then spooning the desired amount of the tomato/mozzarella mixture on top, or this can be done before serving.