Bruschetta is that brilliantly simple Italian creation, perfectly suited for easy entertaining or a simple summer meal. Toasted slices of oiled bread, finished with fresh toppings. Bellissimo! It really is as simple as 1 – 2 – 3, so we’ll run down the steps to make sure you’ve got perfectly flavoursome, crunchy bruschetta every time.
1. The bread
Start with day-old bread.
This will toast better and absorb flavours more easily. Sourdough or rustic baguette is perfect. Slice it about 1½cm thick; if you cut it too thinly, you’ll get crostini, which is more suitable as a receptacle for toppings than a vital part of the dish.
A barbecue or griddle pan is ideal for toasting the bread, and fits nicely into summer entertaining menu plans! Brush the bread with a bit of good-quality olive oil and cook over a medium-high heat. Too hot and the bread will burn; too cool and it will dry out before it gets nice grill marks. The second side never marks quite as well as the first, so be patient with the first side.
3. The toppings
The topping possibilities for bruschetta are endless, but two key rules apply: keep it simple and keep it top-quality. Once the bread is lightly toasted, preferably with some nice black lines across it, rub a clove of garlic over the rough surface. This is a dish where the ingredients and flavours can’t hide, so choose well! Seasonal tomatoes tossed with garlic, basil and balsamic vinegar is a classic; try the Tuscan favourite of just garlic, salt and the finest olive oil, or the Roman classic of anchovies and Mozzarella.