Traditional bruschetta is tomatoes on toasted bread. Many mediterranen countries have a version of it but the Italian version is the best known in the UK. One of my favourites is ‘pan Catalan’, the version they eat in Barcelona. This is toasted slices of bread served with a clove of garlic and a tomato. You rub the garlic over the bread and then do the same with the tomato. It’s delicious! Bruschetta is a little more formal and involves slicing or cubing the tomato.
Personally, I think bruschetta is best made with sourdough bread or ciabatta, both slightly spongier than normal toasting bread. They hold their shape well and have good flavour.
A note on tomatoes: Tomatoes are wet, particularly the seeds. Fancy recipes say to remove the seeds. But as well as being wet they also have a lot of flavour. Unless you’re trying to impress, life’s too short to remove tasty morsels from the hearts of tomatoes. The only part of the tomato I remove is the woody, chewy bit that was attached to the stem. Cut that out with a knife.
Serves: 2. Prep: 7 minutes. Cooking time: 0 minutes.
Stores: The tomato and onion mix stores for a day or two in the fridge. Don’t put it on bread until the last minute.
- Toaster or grill
- Grill pan
- Slice of bread
- 2 ripe tomatoes, or ten cherry tomatoes
- Table spoon of olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar (optional)
- Olive oil (optional)
- A few leaves of fresh basil (optional)
- Toast the bread in the toaster or under the grill.
- Meanwhile, cut the tomato into half-inch cubes.
- Pile the tomato on the bread, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and balsamic to taste.
- Decorate with basil leaves.
- Add half a finely chopped onion to the mixture for crunch and savour.
- Spread the toasted bread with pesto before adding the tomatoes.
- Spread the toasted bread with Marmite before adding the tomatoes.
- Add a couple of chopped black olives and a few capers to the tomatoes for a saltier, more savoury mixture.
- Throw in a few basil leaves and half a ball of fresh mozarella. Bruschetta caprese!
- Swap the toasted bread for crisp bread. Crunchy and tasty – but eat immediately or the bread will go soft and soggy crisp bread is revolting.
- Swap the bread for a wrap and eat quickly. (The tomato mixture will drip.)
- Cut the bread into cubes and toast until more or less dry. Mix with the tomatoes, serve on green leaves, call it salad (panzanella, or bread salad, to be precise).