Bruschetta (pronounced ‘broo skeh tuh’) is a classic appetizer that will impress the guests with it’s beautiful color and fresh taste. Originating in Italy, this popular starter dish is straight out of the garden. Fresh tomato, basil and garlic are the stars, served on a toasty baguette.
As many are still gathering fresh tomatoes out of the garden, bruschetta is one way to put them to use. Roma, or a similar paste tomato, is a good variety to use since it’s meatier and less juicy, but most any garden ripe tomato will do. Speaking of bread, a long narrow loaf of French bread is called a baguette, and is usually the preferred choice for bruschetta, but the wider Italian bread will work too. Some recipes say to toast it in the oven and then brush it with olive oil and rub with a clove of garlic. Other recipes may say to add the olive oil, garlic and even parmesan cheese before baking it in the oven. To each is own!
The toasted baguette slices are topped with a tasty tomato/basil mixture. Dried basil simply will not do. If fresh basil is not an option, spread a layer of pesto on the toast prior to topping it with chopped tomato. While basil cannot be frozen, pesto can! Many bruschetta recipes will call for olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and salt to be mixed with the tomatoes and basil allowing it to sit 15-30 minutes to meld the flavors. As soon as the bread is toasted, this becomes your topping. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
1 French bread baguette
1 lb. (3-4 medium) tomatoes
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons and 1 teaspoon olive oil (divided)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash hands with soap and water. Slice baguette on the diagonal into half-inch slices. Lightly brush one side with 2 Tablespoons olive oil and place oil-side down on baking sheet. Bake for 5-7 minutes, turning halfway. Core tomatoes and chop. Place in a medium bowl. Add basil, garlic, remaining olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper; stir gently to combine and set aside to marinate for 15-30 minutes. Spoon tomato basil mixture onto toasted baguette slices and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Yield: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 90 calories, 4 grams fat, 180 milligrams sodium, 11 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fiber, 3 grams protein
PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Margarita Zueva on Unsplash
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenna Smith is a Nutrition and Wellness Educator with University of Illinois Extension, serving Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties. Smith uses her experience as a registered dietitian nutritionist to deliver impactful information and cutting-edge programs to Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties and beyond.