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August 18, 2010 / amyjmcintosh

Brushetta


Brushetta and I go way back. We started out in my early 20’s as a pre-dinner snack and haven’t really stopped seeing each other since that time. I just can’t walk away from this garlicy, oily, crunchy gem of a dish from central Italy. And why would I, really?

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The secret to making brushetta that an Italian mamma would be proud of lies in choosing the right bread. I usually go with either day-old sourdough or wood-fired bread. But if this is all too hard, you could always grab a trusty French stick.

When it comes to toppings, I rarely venture far from tried and tested vine-ripened tomatoes with and torn basil leaves. But you could be adventurous like Jamie Oliver and try something like flaked crabmeat or eggplant and mint.

Unlike the Italians who rub the grilled or barbecued bread with a cut clove of garlic, I usually mix crushed garlic with olive oil and brush it on the sliced bread before putting it in the oven. I only do this because I’m a garlic fiend and it tastes more garlicky this way. Another method is frying the bread in a pan like they did in the movie, Julie and Julia, but I’m not a huge fan of this one as it burns the bread.

So folks, here’s my beloved brushetta recipe. It has been tried and tested many times in my kitchen and it’s definitely one to write home about.

Amy’s tomato and basil brushetta
Serves 4

Ingredients:
8 slices bread, cut 3cm thick
1 garlic clove, crushed
olive oil, approximately 2 tbs (make sure it’s good quality)
2 vine-ripened tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes), deseeded and diced
balsamic vinegar
1 handful basil leaves, torn
cracked pepper
sea salt

Method:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees (moderate).

Meanwhile, brush the sliced bread with olive oil (a pastry brush comes in handy for this) mixed with one clove of crushed garlic. Pop the bread on a lined oven tray and place in the oven until it’s golden brown and the garlic is cooked. The cooking time will vary depending on your oven, but around 10-15mins should do the trick. You can grill the bread if you’d prefer but I find it’s better to bake it as it’s less likely to burn this way.

Now it’s time for the toppings. Grab the tomatoes and scoop the seeds out (I sometimes leave them in). Chop the tomatoes and place them in a bowl with a slurp of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of sea salt and the torn basil leaves.

Remove bread from the oven and top with mixture. I sometimes add some sliced bocconcini at this stage, but that’s not essential. Grind some cracked pepper onto the brushetta and serve on a platter to your hungry guests who will love you for all eternity.

2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. The Kitchenette / Aug 18 2010 3:25 pm

    I never make bruschetta but you have me wanting some at… 9:30 in the morning!

  2. amyjmcintosh / Aug 19 2010 10:28 am

    Nom nom nom. 🙂

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