A classic Bruschetta recipe using fresh tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar!
Bruschetta is easily one of my favorite things to make and eat. It’s a classic Italian appetizer pronounced “brooSKetta” consisting of fresh tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. You’ll also find balsamic, crushed red pepper, fresh basil, and fresh Italian parsley in some recipes, but they are optional.
It’s light, fresh and full of flavor…and the variations are endless. The classic recipe is perfect the way it is, but you can play around with ingredients to make it your own. Try using heirloom tomatoes, different types of vinegar, roasted garlic or even flavored olive oil. I tried a fig olive oil recently that was to-do-for! You could also roast the tomatoes for a unique and delicious twist. I adore roasted tomatoes!
If you can, use Roma tomatoes, which have fewer seeds and juice. That said, I’ve made this will all kinds of tomatoes and it’s equally delicious. Some people blanch and peel their tomatoes first, but that’s also optional. I don’t bother, and I’ve never had any complaints. In the summer, when tomatoes are at their best, I make this all time!
I like more olive oil and less balsamic, but that is a matter of taste. Or use red wine vinegar, which I also love. Be sure to fully mix the ingredients and taste before adding anything else. You’ll want to grate your garlic or very finely mince it, and then it sit in the dressing for at least 5-10 minutes. Do this first, and let it hang out while you prepare everything else. Since it’s raw, this will help mellow out the flavor. I like the garlic raw. If you don’t, you can also rub a peeled, raw garlic clove over the bread as soon as it comes out of the oven. The heat and abrasiveness of the bread will melt the garlic right into it.
Serve this as an appetizer with some crusty bread to soak up all the juice, which is actually my favorite part. I purposely scoop up the extra juice and let it soak into my bread – YUMM-O! It’s also delicious without the bread and served over eggs, grilled fish or chicken, or with tortilla chips. Think – Italian salsa 😉
Prepare this at least 30 minutes in advance to allow the flavors to blend. I prefer it at room temperature, but feel free to serve it cold if that’s what you prefer.
- 2 cups fresh, ripe tomatoes (about 5 small tomatoes)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, finely grated
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 5 fresh basil leaves, sliced into thin strips
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 baguette or ciabatta loaf
- Optional garnish: Freshly grated Parmesan and extra basil
- Preheat the oven to broil.
- In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, and vinegar, and stir well. Set aside.
- Slice the tomatoes in half, and gently squeeze out some of the seeds.
- Cut them into dice size pieces, and add them to the dressing.
- Stir well, and set aside for 20 - 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
- Slice the baguette into diagonal pieces, about ½" wide and brush with the olive oil.
- Place them on a large baking sheet, and place the pan in the over, directly under the top rack.
- Broil for 60-90 seconds or until the bread is a deep, golden brown. Watch this closely!
- Before serving, taste the tomatoes and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.
- Serve the bruschetta with the bread on the side, and allow your guests to make their own.
- You can also serve extra herbs and freshly grated Parmesan cheese on the side.