A bowl with bruschetta, basil and tomatoes on the side.
Appetizers

Bruschetta and toast

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Bruschetta and toast – a simple yet satisfying appetizer. Bruschetta is one of my favorite sides to serve when tomatoes are in season and fresh.

A mixing bowl with bruschetta. Fresh basil, garlic and tomatoes on the side.
Bruschetta ready for the basil to be added

Bruschetta is like a mild Italian salsa served with toast. Always use the freshest tomatoes and only fresh Italian basil for the best results. Pictured here above, I used very ripe hot-house tomatoes. You can use roma tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes for a beautiful mix of color and complexity. Also, go easy on the garlic. Raw garlic is strong and your guests will thank you for it later.

A bowl of fresh heirloom tomatoes.
Fresh heirloom tomatoes

Flavors in bruschetta will intensify as it sits.

Here’s a tip

Tear the basil with your hands or roll and then cut it with a knife in strips. This is called a chiffonade. Basil bruises easily and will brown if you chop it too much.

What you’ll need

4 or 5 medium sized fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
Fresh basil (handful)
Small garlic clove (crushed, finely diced)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Extra virgin olive oil (about 1 tbsp)

Always choose a flavorful high quality extra virgin olive oil for salads and bruschetta. A little goes a long way.

A small oval bowl with bruschetta served with grilled toast.
Bruschetta served with grilled toast

I prefer a rough chop to the tomatoes. This gives the bruschetta a more rustic Tuscan appeal. Chop the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and place into a bowl. Tear a handful of fresh basil into pieces with your hands and place into the bowl. Add crushed garlic and approximately a table spoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss all ingredients together. Only use kosher salt or a fine Mediterranean salt. The kind of salt you use makes a huge difference in flavor as well.

Making homemade toasts for cheese, dips or bruschetta is easier than you may think.  When it’s just 4 – 6 people, I generally slice rustic bread, brush it with a little olive oil and take it out on the grill. However, if you need lots of toast for a party, I make it in the oven ahead of time.  It’s more economical to make your own as well.

Ideally, you want a light flavored simple rustic bread. I decided to try this mini artisan sourdough bread and it worked well.  Alternatively, you could use a light wheat or buttermilk sandwich bread, crusts removed and cut into quarters.

Seasoning for the bread

Artisan mini bread
Extra virgin olive oil (about 1/4 cup)
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed and finely diced
pinch of salt

Bruschetta and toast

Bruschetta is like a mild Italian salsa served with toast. Always use the freshest tomatoes and only fresh Italian basil for the best results.

Bruschetta

  • 4-5 medium sized fresh tomatoes (roughly chopped)
  • 1 handful fresh basil (torn)
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed and finely diced)
  • 1 pinch sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1- 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Toast

  • 1 loaf mini artisan bread
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (crushed, finely diced)

Bruschetta

  1. Place chopped tomatoes into a bowl. Tear a handful of fresh basil into pieces with your hands and place into the bowl. Add crushed garlic and approximately 1 – 1 1/2 tbsps of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss all ingredients together.

Toast

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a bowl combine the olive oil, garlic and pinch of salt. Lightly brush the seasoned oil onto one side of the bread. Lay out the bread oil-side down on a large baking sheet. Bake in batches for about 8-10 minutes or until a light golden brown. Turn the bread over about halfway through the baking time. Cool before serving.

 

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