While staying home more, give your taste buds a trip to Italy with mouthwatering Bruschetta (brew-sket-tah). It is a toasted or grilled bread, sometimes topped with veggies or fruit, which makes a delicious snack, appetizer, or the base for a main dish. Serve alone or top Bruschetta with a mixture of ingredients you may already have in your kitchen. This recipe is flexible and fun to make, so get ready for lots of compliments when you serve it!
Bruschetta with Spicy Tomato Herb Topping
You will need:
One loaf of crusty French bread or a baguette; may use whole grain for added nutrients
¼ cup olive or other vegetable oil to brush on bread (optional)
1-2 whole cloves garlic for rubbing on hot bread (optional)
6-8 ripe tomatoes (Roma tomatoes work well because they have less juice)
2 tablespoons sweet onion, diced
1/3 cup olive oil or other vegetable oil for topping
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
Juice of 1 lemon or a tablespoon of vinegar
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped, or your favorite herb; may also use dried herbs (1 teaspoon)
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds
Rinse tomatoes well under cool running water, pat dry, and cut into small cubes (drain in a strainer if they are juicy)
Place drained, cubed tomatoes, diced sweet onion, minced garlic, oil, fresh or dried herbs, lemon juice or vinegar, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl and stir. Set aside for 15 minutes and then refrigerate until ready to use.
Set your oven on broil or heat a grilling pan or skillet. Try this step on your outdoor grill for fun.
Cut the bread into ½-inch slices on an angle with a sharp knife.
Brush both sides of sliced bread with oil (optional) and place bread slices on ungreased baking sheet. (If using pan or outdoor grill place bread directly on pan or grill surface.)
Put bread in hot oven (or in pan or on grill) for 2-3 minutes and watch carefully until it is brown and crusty. Turn bread over with tongs and brown the other side.
Remove from heat and rub the tops of each piece of bread with a clove of garlic if desired. This is an optional step if you do not like garlic.
Put a tablespoon of Spicy Tomato Herb Topping on each slice of bread and serve immediately. Serve with topping individually, or stack bread on a platter near topping everyone can top their own Bruschetta.
To make this recipe ahead of time, refrigerate tomato topping, toast the bread, and hold Bruschetta at room temperature until ready to serve.
Recipe makes 6 to 8 servings
Get creative with serving ideas for Bruschetta by putting Mozzarella cheese over the topping and melting it in a hot oven. Top Bruschetta with your favorite mixture of diced seasonal fruit, vegetables, meat, herbs, spices, and vinegars.