Caprese Bruschetta

Posted on September 2, 2011


So pretty!

Bruschetta is one of those things whose name and function have been a little skewed in the US.  In Italy, bruschetta is any toasted bread topped with any topping.  In the US, you can find “bruschetta” at Costco and the like, and is usually a tomato-basil mixture or olive/caper concoction.  So it is realted, but has kind of morphed into the topping itself instead of the bread. And how to pronounce this is constantly debated.  Well, I can tell you, right from the horse’s mouth, that the Italians call is Bru SKetta, with a hard consonant.  In the states you often hear Bru SHetta.  While in Italy, my Dad kept referring to it as BruSHetta, and was corrected several times.

Whatever it is called, whether is refers to the topping or the bread, it is delicious.  And such an easy recipe.  Easy to put together, and pretty on a plate.  What more could you ask for?  Oh, you could ask for home-grown tomatoes and basil.  Even better.

This is one of those NON-recipes.  Honestly, I just kind of throw it together.  And you can too.  Just be ready to taste it frequently to make sure you have the seasonings correct.

1.  Seed 6-7 Roma tomatoes; chop into bits.  Or, use packs of tiny grape tomatoes and cut them into three. You would need several cups of grape tomatoes.  You could even mix colors of tomatoes if you want.  That would be pretty too.

2.  To your bowl of tomatoes, add 2-3 T. HIGH quality extra virgin olive oil.  The oil makes the dish, so no subbing with vegetable oil or anything like that.

3.  Add 4-5 T. red wine vinegar.

4.  Toss.  Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.

5.  Chop a very large handful of basil.  Stir it in.  Now TASTE.  Add more seasonings, vinegar, or oil based on your opinion of how it tastes.  I always adjust something!

You could serve it at this point.  Very common just to see a tomato and basil topping.  Or, if you want a variation on Caprese salad (just a tomato/mozzarella salad), then go ahead and…..

6.  Stir in about 1 cup of tiny fresh mozzarella balls. Now set the bowl aside and let your topping marinate.

7.  Turn your oven to 400 degrees.

8.  Slice long Italian style baguettes.  Arrange slices on a cookie sheet.  Sometimes I take long, uncut baguettes to the bakery at my local grocery store and ask them to slice it for me.  Lovely!

9.  With a brush, spread Extra virgin olive oil over the slices.  You must also have garlic.  You can either take a clove or two and rub the oiled bread, or you can take some jarred minced garlic and just mix it with the oil before spreading.

10.  Cook in the oven until the bread is crisp and just starting to brown.

11.  Let cool for a few minutes, then top with copious amounts of the tomato basil mixture.

12.  Serve and watch them disappear in seconds.

This is one of my “go-to” appetizers for smaller dinner parties.  It could possibly be one of the most delicious things on the planet, especially when you have vine ripe tomatoes on hand.  A couple of my kids who don’t normally eat tomatoes will eat them prepared this way.

Plus it is so pretty.  The appetizer looks like the Italian Flag!

Thanks, Italy.  You are always an inspiration.