Well, today was another scorching hot day in Ireland, and I thought to myself, “Why not enjoy dinner outdoors?” So, I whipped up this ridiculously easy and mouthwateringly delicious dish called bruschetta. Let me tell you, it’s a summer staple and one of my absolute favorites. Believe it or not, my first encounter with bruschetta was only a few years ago in Rome. One bite and I was instantly addicted! Every restaurant had their own unique twist on how to prepare it. But this version, with the heavenly combination of ciabatta and pesto, is my favorite.
What is bruschetta?
Bruschetta in Italian simply means toasted bread with toppings. Bruschetta is normally served as an antipasto (a starter dish). I was today years old when I found out that the correct pronunciation for the word bruschetta, I have been saying it wrong this whole time, it’s pronounced bru-sketta not brew-shetta lol, well what can I say except I know I’m not the only one that has been saying it wrong all these years. You can have all sorts of toppings for this famous Italian dish, I’ve seen some bruschetta recipes containing chopped tomatoes (which I used in this recipe), sliced olives, mozzarella cheese, marinated sliced mushrooms, Parmesan, chicken, pestos, and even cured Italian hams. I think the sky’s the limit when it comes to toppings to use, just experiment and have fun with ingredients you love.
Is bruschetta served hot or cold?
Bruschetta is best served straight away. The warm toast with the marinated tomatoes complement each other perfectly. However, you can make up the components ahead of time, toast your slices of bread, and marinate your tomatoes, then plate up when you’re ready to serve. This is great if you are hosting a large party or even having a posh picnic.
What do Italians eat with bruschetta?
When it comes to enjoying bruschetta, Italians love to explore a variety of side dishes and drinks that perfectly complement the flavors of this delightful appetizer. As an accompaniment, Italians often serve a refreshing salad or a vibrant bowl of soup, such as Minestrone or Ribollita. For those looking for something heartier, pasta dishes like penne arrabbiata or spaghetti aglio e olio make an excellent choice.
To elevate the culinary experience, Italians savor a glass of their favorite wine, such as Chianti or Pinot Grigio, which beautifully enhances the medley of flavors found in bruschetta. As for drinks after the meal, one cannot miss the opportunity to indulge in the sweet and zesty taste of limoncello. Alternatively, if you are opting for something more substantial than just bruschetta alone, chicken dishes like Chicken Piccata or lemon butter Chicken are popular choices that pair exceptionally well.
What type of tomato is most commonly used for bruschetta?
The type of tomato most commonly used for bruschetta is the juicy and flavorful Roma tomato! These tomatoes are perfect for this classic Italian appetizer as they have a firm texture, low seed count, and a vibrant red color. Their meaty flesh allows them to hold up well when diced or chopped, while their sweetness adds a burst of flavor to the dish. Just imagine the combination of crusty bread, fragrant basil, tangy garlic, and the succulent Roma tomatoes all coming together in each delicious bite of bruschetta. It’s no wonder why the Roma tomato is the star player in this irresistible snack! But if there are no Roma tomatoes the next best thing are cherry tomatoes as they have a low water content and are still sweet.
What's the best bread to use for bruschetta?
When it comes to making the perfect bruschetta, choosing the right bread is key! While there are numerous options available, a traditional Italian baguette is often regarded as the best choice. Its crispy exterior and soft, chewy interior provide a delightful contrast in texture that compliments the toppings beautifully. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try using Ciabatta bread for a slightly denser and rustic variation. Alternatively, whole grain or sourdough bread can add an interesting twist to your bruschetta with their distinct flavors and hearty textures. Ultimately, the best bread for bruschetta is a matter of personal preference, so feel free to experiment and find the one that satisfies your taste buds!
How to make homemade basil pesto
Making homemade pesto is not only delicious but also a fun and creative activity in the kitchen.
- To start, gather fresh basil leaves, garlic cloves, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and a pinch of salt.
- Begin by toasting the pine nuts in a dry pan until they turn a light golden color.
- Next, place the basil leaves and garlic cloves in a food processor or blender and pulse until finely chopped.
- Add the toasted pine nuts and grated Parmesan cheese to the mixture, followed by a drizzle of olive oil.
- Blend everything together until smooth and creamy, adding more olive oil if needed.
- Season with salt to taste and voila! You have your own homemade basil pesto to enjoy with pasta, bread, as a dip for veggies, and of course pesto bruschetta.
Get creative by adding other herbs or even some sun-dried tomatoes for an extra twist of flavor. Homemade pesto is not only easy to make but also customizable to suit your taste preferences, so let your culinary creativity run wild!
Tips and Tricks For Pesto Bruschetta
- Once assembled serve pesto bruschetta immediately to prevent the fresh pesto from browning.
- If preparing ahead of time, store the pesto, tomatoes, and ciabatta separately in airtight containers.
- Refrigerate the pesto unless it’s an unopened store-bought jar, while the tomatoes and ciabatta can be stored at room temperature for 24 hours.
- Garnish your bruschetta with Parmesan cheese shavings, balsamic vinegar, or fresh basil for added flavor.
- Experiment with different toppings or spreads to create unique and delicious variations of bruschetta.
Pesto & Ciabatta Bruschetta
For the toasted bread
- First, preheat your oven to 180°C.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set to one side.
To make the topping
- Next, chop up your cherry tomatoes and place them into a large bowl.500 g Cherry tomatoes
- Chop a handful of basil leaves into small ribbons, to do this neatly stack up your basil leaves one on top of the other, then gently roll them up and simply slice them into ribbons.1 Handful Basil leaves
- Dice up 4 cloves of garlic, normally I dice up all five cloves at once and set 1 to one side in a small bowl until I'm ready to make the toast as it saves time.1 Clove Garlic, 4 Cloves Garlic
- Add the diced garlic, basil leaves, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper with your chopped tomatoes and give it a good mix.1 Handful Basil leaves, 4 Cloves Garlic, 1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 Tsp Sea salt, 1/4 Tsp Cracked black pepper.
- Set the bowl of tomatoes to one side for about 30 minutes or so.
To make the pesto toasts
- Slice up a loaf of ciabatta bread into 12 slices.12 Slices Ciabatta bread
- Next, take the small bowl with one diced garlic clove and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, give it a quick mix.1 Clove Garlic, 3 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- Oil one side of each slice of bread and place it oil side down onto your prepared baking sheet.12 Slices Ciabatta bread, 1 Clove Garlic, 3 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- Next, add a teaspoon of pesto sauce to the top of each piece of bread and spread gently with the back of the teaspoon making sure the top is covered.12 Tsp Pesto sauce, 12 Slices Ciabatta bread
- Bake in your preheated oven for 5-8 minutes.
- Once cooked place three slices onto each plate and top with the marinated tomatoes and serve.
So grab a loaf of fresh bread, some ripe tomatoes, and a bunch of fragrant basil because it’s time to embark on a pesto bruschetta adventure! Whether you’re hosting a backyard BBQ or simply looking for a delicious snack, this recipe is sure to wow your taste buds. And hey, while you’re at it, why not try out some other summer recipes like a refreshing nasturtium salad or crispy herb potatoes? With so many delicious options, your summer kitchen is about to become the hottest spot in town!
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