Bruschetta is synonymous with summer, ripe tomatoes, basil, and al fresco dining. Add a glass of chilled white and you are transported to a warm holiday destination instantly. It’s so easy to recreate that feeling at home with some stale bread and a few vine-ripened tomatoes.
Everyone can make bruschettas, even if you have no cooking skills whatsoever. If you can make toast and cut tomatoes, you can make bruschettas with the bonus of using up leftover stale bread. It’s an easy and inexpensive crowd-pleaser that can be served as an appetiser or a light meal.
What ingredients go into fresh bruschettas?
A traditional bruschetta recipe calls for simple ingredients:
- Ripe tomatoes
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh basil leaves
- Garlic cloves
- Salt & pepper
You can add extra ingredients like feta, olives, or cold meats if you want, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar, honey mustard, or similar dressings. When making bruschettas though, I stick to the rule less is more.
What is the difference between crostini and bruschetta?
Bruschetta is a larger and thicker sliced bread, traditionally grilled over coals. Crostini on the other hand are thinner, bite-size slices of bread like baguettes.
What kind of bread should I use to make bruschetta?
Italian bread like Pane di Casa, french baguettes, sourdough, or any crusty type is suitable. Day-old, stale bread is perfect. Stear away from open crumb bread with large holes like sliced ciabatta, as the tomato pieces will fall through.
Cut the bread into thick slices as they need to hold the weight of the topping: 2-3 cm tick for a baguette or yeast bread, 2 cm for sourdough.
What kind of tomato to use?
As bruschettas are a dish with a few ingredients, make sure those ingredients are full of flavour. Vine-ripened, sun-kissed tomatoes are essential. Forget about red tennis balls called tomatoes from the supermarket. Those are tasteless and have hardly any juices in them. If buying from the shops, get tomatoes on the vine. Cherry tomatoes can be used, too. Eat tomatoes at room temperature to get the best out of them. Chilled tomatoes lose their flavour in the same way as strawberries.
How to toast bread for bruschetta?
Traditionally, the slices are grilled over fire, however, you can do it at home on the barbeque, grill or bake in the oven, on a griddle pan, or in the toaster oven.
Slice the bread thickly. If baking in the oven, arrange the slices in a single layer on a baking tray or a rack and grill or bake until golden. Turn the slices and bake the other side. A toaster oven is handy as it bakes both sides at once, so no turning is required.
Once grilled, rub each slice with a garlic clove, then drizzle some extra virgin olive oil before tomato topping is loaded on top.
Should bruschettas be served warm or cold?
My preference is to serve bruschettas as soon as toasted bread is out of the oven with tomato mixture at room temperature. However, it’s perfectly fine to cool down toasted bread and load tomato topping that has been in the fridge, especially if you are preparing bruschettas in advance.
For more ideas on how to use up stale bread, please check our stale bread recipes.
Easy Bruschetta Recipe
- 4 large or 8 small slices of bread, 2-3 cm thick
- 4 large ripe tomatoes or 2 punnets of cherry tomatoes
- 4 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil plus extra for bread
- handfull Fresh basil leaves
- 2-3 Grlic cloves
- Salt & pepper
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar or honey mustard topping (optional)
Prepare tomato topping
- Cut tomatoes in half, remove the seeds, dice finely, then place in a bowl
- Slice fresh basil leaves using scissors or tear them into smaller pieces, add to the tomatoes
- Season with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar if using
- Set aside to marinate while preparing bread
Prepare bread slices
- Grill or toast the bread until golden
- Rub each slice with the garlic clove, then splash with half the olive oil
- Spoon tomato mixture on warm or cold grilled bread
- Decorate with extra basil leaves, crumbled feta cheese or honey mustard
- Serve promptly