Olive Oil summer recipes: tomato bruschetta
There are some dishes that are ideal to feature and showcase a good olive oil: boiled potatoes, purees, bean soups (as the famous soup so typical of Tuscany, the “ribollita”), pastas, the Caprese salad, pizzas.
Bruschettas are among them. Bruschettas (which should be pronounced as “bruce (as in Bruce Lee) and kettas (and not schettas as we often hear) are a classic of that country side cuisine of Central Italy that emerged out of poverty, ingenuity and good ingredients. “Bruscare,” in the dialect of the Lazio region (where Rome is), means to roast over coals.
If you roast a piece of bread, rub a clove of garlic against it and then pour some olive oil in it, you already have a very tasty appetizer. In Italy, they’d call that a “fetunta.” Now, if you add some toppings, you have a bruschetta.
A very important part is how you treat the bread for it. First of all, it has to be a rather thick slice, otherwise you’d make crostini. The idea is that you toast, grill or bake (all methods will work) the bread well on the surfaces though you leave the interior not to toasted it in order to absorb the olive oil there.
As soon as you have the bread toasted, rub a piece of garlic onto it. Using the borders of the slice will help to get a good amount of garlic in it.
We’re in the peak of tomato season and a simple tomato topping can be:
Tomatoes cut in small pieces (even less than one inch), salt and pepper, plus some chopped parsley and thyme.
Spread the topping on the bread (a white, countryside sort of bread is ideal) and generously drizzle with olive oil.
Of course, you can add to the topping: olives, greens, onions, scallions, capers, bell peppers, mushrooms.
Though sometimes you may depart from the traditional bruschettas known in Italy, the result is always good and tasty, as long as these minimal ingredients are good. Warming the tomatoes is also an option.
It’s good to serve this while the bread is warm, for it will help releasing all the perfumes of the ingredients (from the garlic, the tomatoes and the olive oil).