Authentic Italian Bruschetta is a light Italian dish that serves as a snack or appetizer. Its authentic ingredients are simple: fresh tomatoes, olive oil, garlic salt and pepper.
It was originally considered a “poor man’s” food–served to farmers and field workers as a quick snack. However, the concept of Bruschetta has evolved into many variations, but the basic elements are still simple and fresh.
What Kind of Tomatoes Should I Use for Authentic Italian Bruschetta?
The Italians really have more points than Americans when it comes to tomatoes because they have ample access to delicious, sweet San Marzano tomatoes. In the States, unless you grow your own tomatoes, you’ve probably never had a “real” tomato–at least not from the grocery store.
- First favorite is a homegrown or “farmer’s market” tomato
- Next, the best choice is an heirloom tomato. Unfortunately, they are very expensive.
- The third option is a vine-ripened tomato which is similar to a homegrown tomato, but not as sweet.
- Finally, the Roma tomatoes are a last option. They are much smaller than vine-ripened, so if you use Roma tomatoes, buy more than indicated in the recipe.
What Type of Olive Oil Should I Use?
Outside of the type of tomato, the next critical ingredient is the olive oil. High quality olive oil is the secret to delicious Bruschetta. Use a high quality olive oil, preferably an import that is certified by the Italian government. High quality olive oils actually have flavor, whereas the brands in the grocery stores are bland and lacking in flavor.
Unfortunately, national and store brands do not do this recipe justice. There are some high quality California olive oils that offer a little more flavor and depth. The California Olive Ranch offers a variety of olive oils that would do well in this recipe.
What Type of Bread Works Best for Bruschetta?
Any type of rustic loaf bread works great! Now, there are Italian, French and Sourdough loaves available in full or mini size. If you don’t have time to grill or toast the bread, you can buy pre-made, toasted crostini rounds. Most grocers carry them in the deli department.
- 6 large vine ripe tomatoes or 8-10 Roma tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1/4 cup high quality olive oil some to drizzle on the tomatoes and the remainder for the bread
- 1 clove garlic cut
- 1 loaf Italian bread (see Recipe Notes)
- 3-4 tablespoons fresh basil finely chopped
Slice tomatoes in half and remove seeds
Dice tomatoes and place in medium size bowl; add salt and pepper
Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes (don't use all of the oil for the tomatoes; reserve some for the bread)
Combine well; cover and let sit
Meanwhile, slice the bread and drizzle each slice with olive oil on one side only
Preheat grill (or oven) to 375ºF
If using a grill, place oiled side down on the grill and cook until you begin to see grill marks on the bread; turn the bread slices over and toast the other side for 1-2minutes; if using the oven, place the bread slices oiled side up; toast until the tops turn light golden brown; flip the bread and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Rub cut garlic onto the oiled side of each slice of bread
Top with tomatoes; garnish with fresh basil and serve
Peeling and seeding tomatoes:
Leave the skin on; cut the tomato in half; cut the core out; using your finger or a spoon, remove and discard seeds
- If you do not have fresh garlic, use a garlic-infused olive oil or add a little minced garlic to the tomatoes.
- The recipe proportions are for a full-sized loaf of Italian bread; not a small round "crostini" type bread