What is bruschetta?
Bruschetta (pronounced “bruu-SKET-tah”) is an Italian starter consisting of a slice of bread, rubbed with garlic, sprinkled with olive oil and topped with small blocks of fresh tomato and basil.
The word bruschetta comes from the Italian verb “bruscare”, and means “toasting over an open fire.” Bruschetta is actually toasted bread, although it has little in common with our morning slices of toast. In its most original form, bruschetta is a slice of toasted bread, with some seasonal olive oil on top. This is how it is still eaten Tuscany, where the dish is also called fett’unta (fat slice).
For a slightly more upmarket version, the bread is rubbed with a chopped garlic clove and some salt is added. Furthermore, the map dictates what the Italians prefer to put on their bruschetta. Sicilians opt for oregano, Romans for anchovies and mozzarella, while Calabrians choose rosemary. Outside of Italy, when you order bruschetta, you almost always get fresh diced tomato and thin strips of basil on the toasted bread.
How to make bruschetta
First-class ingredients are important for a simple dish such as bruschetta. The best tomatoes, preferably juicy beef or Roma tomatoes, are peeled, chopped and marinated by some chefs in virgin olive oil with some salt and pepper, before being added to the bread.
Italian chefs prefer to use Tuscan bread, which in itself does not have much taste, but once it is stale comes into its own. Other rustic breads are also very tasty. It is preferably roasted over a fire, for that extra smoky flavour, and lightly rubbed with garlic. Add a spoonful of tomatoes and a few drops of olive oil. Some wafer-thin strips of basil complete the starter. Modest? Yes. But oh so tasty.
How to eat bruschetta
In Italy, bruschetta is served in the country as an appetiser, as an aperitif with wine or as part of an antipasti dish. A bruschetta is a form of finger food.
The Italian motto when it comes to bruschetta is: bread a day old, olive oil a month old, wine a year old. Serve this dish with a young, fruity, light red wine or a rosé and you can’t go wrong.