All of the best tips we learned in Italy about how to make bruschetta!
It’s peak tomato season which means…it’s bruschetta time! ♡
I’ve long been a big fan of this classic Italian appetizer. But a few years ago during our trip to Rome, my husband and I had the opportunity to take a mini-cooking class specifically on the art of making classic tomato bruschetta, during which we learned a few key facts and techniques that take this simple dish to the next level. So I figured that tomato season would be a good time to pop in here and share a bit of what we learned!
First off, it’s important to note the dish’s name is commonly mispronounced abroad and the Italian “ch” sound is actually pronounced like an English “k” — broo-skeh-tah. (Also, the plural of bruschetta is bruschette — broo-skeh-teh.) Its name is derived from the Roman verb meaning “to toast” or “to roast over coals,” and accordingly, the dish is commonly regarded as one of the best uses for leftover bread. While there are countless regional variations of bruschetta recipes that can be found nowadays around Italy, it is believed that tomato bruschetta in general dates all the way back to the 16th century, back when tomatoes first arrived on the scene in Europe. (Yes, believe it or not, tomatoes are a relatively new addition to the long history of Italian cuisine!)
As with most classic Italian dishes, the ingredient list for tomato bruschetta is intentionally kept very minimal so that those vibrant, fresh flavors can really shine through. All you need are ripe tomatoes, good-quality olive oil, fresh basil, garlic, oregano, sea salt and crusty bread to make an excellent batch of bruschette di pomodoro. And by contrast to the bruschetta that I used to make simply by toasting bread and scooping a tomato mixture on top, we learned that there is in fact a specific Italian method for how to assemble the ingredients in such a way that promises to bring out the best of their flavors and textures. It’s all very quick and easy to prep. And, if you’d like, you can even prep the crostini and tomato topping hours in advance and then assemble just before serving, making bruschetta a fabulous option for easy entertaining.
All of that said, the most important thing that our instructor repeated again and again is that amazing tomatoes make for amazing bruschetta. So while ripe tomatoes are overflowing in gardens and farmers markets galore right now, let’s make the most of them and make some bruschetta!