This tomato bruschetta recipe is no stranger to Italians and Italian food lovers. It may only call for a few ingredients, but don’t let that fool you. Simplicity is what makes it complex.
What Is Bruschetta?
Bruschetta /broo-‛sket-ta/ is a starter dish that originated in Italy. The base of a bruschetta is a slice of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and doused in olive oil. To make the dish more wholesome, toppings such as vegetables, cured meat, and cheese are put on the bread.
As every region in Italy has their own take on bruschetta, it is impossible to determine the original authentic version. For example, in Tuscany, bruschetta is known as ‘fettunta’. Fettunta is made with Tuscan bread, or ‘pane toscano’, with only extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. It can also be paired with meat like salami or prosciutto.
In Piedmont, they have another version of bruschetta, called ‘soma d’aj’. The word ‘aj’ is a local dialect for ‘aglio’, or garlic, thus indicating that the dish is loaded with garlic. Meanwhile, a Neapolitan bruschetta would have some good quality tomatoes on it. These tomatoes are diced into small pieces and seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil, and herbs like basil or oregano.
Origin aside, it is indisputable that bruschetta makes an amazing appetizer or breakfast. Let’s take a look at how to make them.
Bread For Bruschetta
The key to a good bruschetta lies in the bread. Considering its origin, it’s only fair to use a type of rustic Italian bread to make bruschetta. There might be dozens of different kinds of Italian bread, but ciabatta is the one that really stands out. A loaf of whole wheat ciabatta with a thick crust and chewy texture is the rightful candidate for any type of sandwich. And that includes an open-faced sandwich and toast.
However, if you can’t find ciabatta in your area, look for sourdough bread as an alternative. Or just get the best quality French baguette available. And remember, no matter what bread you use, it has to be one-day-old bread. Stale bread that has been exposed to air tends to be drier than fresh bread. So when you grill it, it will soak up more olive oil and become more flavorful.
Traditionally, the bread is toasted with a brustolina grill. If you have one on hand, perfect! Otherwise just use a grill pan, skillet, toaster, or anything available in your kitchen. Another way to amplify the flavor of your bruschetta is to grill the bread over charcoal. This will give the bread a nice hint of smokiness and beautifully charred surface.
After grilling, rub garlic on the bread and douse it in the best extra-virgin olive oil you can afford. Now all that’s left is to put on all of the toppings your heart desires, starting with cheese.
Bruschetta With Mozzarella Cheese: What’s The Best Cheese for Bruschetta?
There is no perfect cheese for bruschetta because everyone has different tastes. That being said though, Italian cheeses are clearly the best fit for this Italian classic. And mozzarella happens to be among the top candidates. However, you shouldn’t consider it ‘the best cheese’ for bruschetta, but rather the most common.
Besides mozzarella, you can find many other cheeses, such as soft fresh cheeses like burrata and ricotta. If you prefer aged cheeses, look for provolone, pecorino, and parmigiano reggiano (parmesan). The possibilities are endless! Just start off with your favorite kind of Italian cheese and then experiment with the others as you go. Keep in mind that the cheese and other toppings on your bruschetta should complement one another. You don’t want to risk having one ingredient overpowering the rest.
How to Make Tomato Bruschetta
In order to make tomato bruschetta, you will need the following ingredients:
- Extra-virgin olive oil: it doesn’t have to be a fancy, gourmet olive oil. Pick one within your budget and it should be fine.
- Good bread: for today’s recipe, we’re using day-old French baguette.
- Garlic: to flavor the bread.
- Fresh tomatoes: any type of firmly ripe, red tomatoes would work perfectly.
- Onions: you can choose from yellow, white, sweet, and red onions. Pick your favorite or combine a few of them.
- Fresh mozzarella cheese, or your cheese of choice.
- Fresh basil leaves, for an earthy, herby taste.
- Our secret ingredient: balsamic glaze— made by reducing balsamic vinegar and honey into a luscious, glossy sauce.
- And last but not least, salt.
If there’s anything that will elevate your tomato bruschetta, it’s the fresh ingredients. So try to get the freshest veggies available.
Now that your ingredients are ready, let’s build our bruschetta. First, we need to make crispy garlic bread. Start off by mixing garlic and olive oil in a small bowl. Brush this garlicky mixture on both sides of the bread slices and put them on a baking sheet. These garlic bread slices only need 10 minutes in the oven to turn golden brown. In the meantime, you can make the balsamic glaze, and mix tomatoes, onions, salt, and basil. Once the bread is ready, you can assemble your bruschetta by layering thinly sliced fresh mozzarella on top of the bread. Add tomato mixture and balsamic glaze, and voilà! Tomato bruschetta is served.
What to Serve with Tomato Bruschetta
Normally bruschetta is served as a light breakfast or lunch. Tomato bruschetta on its own won’t be enough to make you full. That’s why we’ve decided to pair it with our very own strawberry banana smoothie to make a wholesome breakfast. This refreshing drink takes minutes to make and will add a nice finishing touch to your morning meal.
Here is the nutritional information for today’s meal plan:
|Tomato Bruschetta||Breakfast||390||6.1 g||522 mg|
|Strawberry Banana Smoothie||Beverage||216||1.0 g||24 mg|
|Total||606||7.1 g||546 mg|
Right! Time to hit the kitchen!
Tomato Bruschetta Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a bowl, mix together 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and minced garlic. Set aside.
- Brush each bread slice with the garlic mixture and place on a baking sheet. Bake the garlic bread in the oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
- While the bread is baking, make the balsamic glaze: in a small saucepan, heat balsamic vinegar over medium-low heat for 8 minutes or until reduced by half. Add honey and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- In a bowl, combine the remaining 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, tomatoes, onions, salt, and chopped basil. Mix well.
- Arrange the bruschetta: put a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese on each bread slice. Scoop a spoonful of the tomato salad on top of the cheese. Drizzle the balsamic glaze over the top and serve.