Bruschetta is delightful as an appetizer or as part of the main meal. Most of us don't have time to buy authentic ciabatta bread and to pan-fry it in olive oil, the way the Romans do. Here's a simple way to create great-tasting tomato bruschetta with just a few ingredients that are normally on hand in your kitchen.
1 loaf of your favorite bakery bread (some kind of crusty white loaf, torpedo or baguette shaped)
2 medium tomatoes
3-4 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled
Olive oil for brushing on the bread
Salt and Pepper
Basil leaves (fresh for best taste, but dried is better than nothing)
1. Dice the fresh tomatoes into a mixing bowl, cutting them into small pieces.
2. Cut your loaf of bread into 1 centimeter-thick slices. The face of each slice can be as big as you want, for example whole cross sections of the loaf, or you can cut them even smaller. The bread should be a stiffer kind, i.e. one that can hold up under the weight of the diced tomatoes. Wonderbread just doesn't cut it here!
3. Toast the bread. This can be done a few ways.
- For just a few slices, put them into your toaster two at a time, or fit a few more together in a toaster oven. Toast them until they're golden on the outside.
- For larger batches, try lining multiple slices of bread on a cookie sheet, and bake in the oven like dinner rolls, at about 400F. Don't over toast!
4. Now, while the bread is still hot (and careful not to burn your fingers!), quickly rub each piece of toast with a raw garlic clove. Go back and forth over the face of the toast, covering one side with a light layer of garlic. The heat of the bread will take the edge off the raw garlic taste. This makes excellent garlic bread in its own right.
5. Brush the garlic bread with a light coat of olive oil. OR: fill a shallow plate with a bit of oil and press the toast lightly into it (garlic side down) to achieve a coating.
6. On top of your oiled garlic bread, heap on a nice layer of fresh diced tomatoes. Shake on some salt and pepper, and dust it with fresh chopped basil for best results, or else use the dried version.
And that's it! You have excellent tomato bruschetta without the fuss of frying the bread in a pan, and it only uses a fraction of the typical amount of oil. Experiment with a few different types of bakery bread. Ciabatta is the best, of course, but even normal Italian, French, or Austrian bread can do in a pinch. Serve right away to hungry guests!