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Bruschetta. Thick slices of grilled bread, rubbed with garlic, drizzled with olive oil, topped with tomatoes and herbs.
While it’s mostly used as an appetizer or antipasto, it can be turned into a meal if you use larger portions of bread, kind of like an open faced sandwich.
This Italian dish is always best when fresh tomatoes are in season.
Speaking of Italian, it’s time to let you in on a little secret. When preparing Italian food, listening to a mix of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra tunes is a must. This is not negotiable and should be added to your playlist before continuing with the recipe.
Singing along and dancing around the kitchen is completely up to you, but it does make the cooking adventure more fun.
Bruschetta can be whatever you make it to be. Starting with the base ingredients of bread, olive oil and tomatoes you can add herbs, cheeses and sometimes prosciutto. It’s all up to your own taste.
The first step is to pick the bread. A fresh Italian loaf or French baguette works well. You can either slice the bread for smaller, appetizer sizes or cut lengthwise for a meal size portion.
Place the bread on a baking sheet and then brush with extra virgin olive oil. You can toast bread in the broiler before adding toppings or, if using cheese, wait until the slices are topped to brown and melt the cheese topping for a bruschetta served warm.
You can layer the next ingredients or mix them together before placing in the bread. Tomatoes are a must for the topping. Using a variety of colors of tomatoes makes a beautiful bruschetta. Chopped miniature heirloom tomatoes work well and add a colorful topping. These can be found locally at a farmer’s market and sometimes at the grocery when in season. In the winter I found some at Trader Joe’s in Louisville.
Fresh basil always is good for the mix and adds a touch of green to yellow and red tomatoes. This time of year, you can plant basil in a potted garden on your porch or in a windowsill. That way you always can have fresh basil at your finger tips, if you can keep the pets out of it. Boo, my Labrador, seems to like the smell of basil because when he comes in from the sun porch his nose smells like basil.
Garlic can add another twist of flavor to the bruschetta. Using a garlic press can make the garlic easier to spread onto the bread.
To make a toasted or warmed bruschetta, top with your favorite Italian cheese and place under the broiler for one or two minutes, until cheese is melted and slightly brown.
The result is a beautiful and tasty bruschetta that can be served as an appetizer or a larger portion for a meal.
Now, that’s amore.
Get cooking and don’t forget about the singing and dancing.
Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or.