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Basic and Tomato Bruschetta

Contributed by: News Canada

Bruschetta in its original and most basic form is nothing more than garlic bread made with great olive oil. In Tuscany, it came into being as a means for workers to celebrate the first pressing of the olive oil after harvest. There was always a fire going near the press to provide warmth and peasants would grill chewy slabs of bread over it, and then rub the bread with garlic and douse it in the just-pressed oil. What could be more delicious? Well, perhaps the popular summer version topped with juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes and aromatic slivers of bright green basil. As irresistible as Tomato Bruschetta may be during the sultry summer months, be sure to try the Basic Bruschetta - often called Fettunta - as it is the essence of simple yet divine Tuscan cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 4 slabs crusty and dense Italian bread, cut 3/4 to 1 inch thick
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • Best quality extra virgin olive oil, preferably from Tuscany
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Tomato Topping:
  • 3 cups seeded and diced vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup best quality extra virgin olive oil, preferably from Tuscany
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 5 tablespoons slivered fresh basil leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Charcoal: Direct - Gas: Direct/Low Heat

To Make Bruschetta: grill bread, turning once, until golden on both sides, about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes per side. Rub one side of each piece of bread with a half clove of garlic; rub hard for good garlicky flavor. Place each piece of bread on a serving plate and drizzle generously with olive oil to suit your taste. Season with salt and enjoy.

For Tomato Bruschetta: Make the topping by combining tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil, salt and pepper. Let mixture marinate at room temperature for 45 minutes. Grill the bread in the same manner as the basic bruschetta and top hot-off-the-grill with the tomato mixture. Let stand a few minutes to let the juices absorb into the grilled bread.

Serving Size: Makes 4 appetizer servings


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