Bruschetta, that delicious toasted bread that graces so many Italian tables. It is super tasty and so easy to make. Read on for everything you need to know about bruschetta and how to make your own easy bruschetta.
Having just returned from a fabulous holiday in Tuscany I just had to share my simple real bruschetta recipe and a few words about this tasty antipasto dish.
Why you’ll love this recipe;
- Homemade bruschetta is super easy and quick to make and cheap too.
- You can use up your next-day bread for this bruschetta recipe, so it is a zero-waste and economical recipe.
- Versatility, once you make your basic bruschetta you can top it with all sorts of things and really get creative.
- The taste, that crunchy, flavour-packed bruschetta is always best homemade.
What is bruschetta?
Basically, bruschetta is toasted bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled in olive oil with a pinch of salt. The name bruschetta comes from the Italian ‘bruscare’ meaning to roast over coals which is how bruschetta would originally be made.
How to pronounce bruschetta – Bruce-Keh-Tah.
Where does bruschetta come from?
Although bruschetta is synonymous with Italy it actually hails from Tuscany and there is a good reason for that.
Back in the 14th century, Pope Paul lll imposed a tax on salt. Your average person could not afford salt and would only buy it in November when they needed it to preserve meat over winter. It was too expensive to be used in bread making. To this day the bread in Tuscany is made without salt and is thus somewhat tasteless.
By the way, the word salary comes from the fact that some people could be paid in bags of salt or sal as it is known in Italy, hence, they were paid a salary.
How bread became bruschetta
To enliven the bland taste of the Tuscan bread people would toast it over coals and rub it with garlic and a drizzle of oil which was always plentiful. This made the bread far more palatable and bruschetta was born!
What is the most popular form of bruschetta?
The most basic of bruschetta is just the toasted bread with garlic and olive oil, but the one you are probably more familiar with tomato bruschetta so that’s the one I will show you how to make here, then give you some great ideas for other bruschetta recipes.
The complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making this recipe can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Ingredients for basic bruschetta
There are only 3 ingredients for the actual bruschetta itself.
Bread – you can use up your day-old bread here, a French-style loaf, rustic sliced bread, whatever you have. Do please avoid the dreaded white sliced loaf from the supermarket, that’s best saved for sandwiches and toast.
Olive oil – Extra virgin olive oil is best for making bruschetta as it has the most flavour. The flavour of your olive oil all depends on where the olives were grown. From Italy to Greece, Spain and further afield olives are grown in abundance for their wonderful healthy oil.
Garlic – You want fresh garlic to make bruschetta, all you are doing is rubbing the toasted bread with a cut clove. Don’t skimp and use garlic powder!
First, cut your bread into slices about 1cm wide. You can go for straight slices or bigger pieces cut at an angle. The choice is yours.
Toast the bread slices on the grill on both sides. If, like me, you have an Aga just toast it straight on the simmering plate and do both sides.
Now peel and cut a couple of the garlic cloves in half and rub the cut side of the garlic over the toasted bread. This will impress the taste of the garlic into the toast itself.
Drizzle over some of your extra virgin olive oil.
That’s it folks, you have now made basic bruschetta! Now let’s make the standard tomato-topped bruschetta.
Ingredients for tomato bruschetta
There are only 2 ingredients for the classic tomato bruschetta plus a little seasoning.
Tomatoes – Use nice big fresh juicy tomatoes here.
Basil leaves – fresh basil please, you just can’t get away with dried basil for bruschetta.
Seasoning – salt and pepper to taste.
You want to peel your tomatoes for bruschetta. This makes them smoother to eat and easier to digest for some folks.
To remove the skins from tomatoes simply place them in a heatproof bowl of saucepan and pour over boiling water.
Leave them for barely a minute then whip them out of the water.
Using a knife cut a cross at the stalk area of the tomato and peel the skin down from there. The hot water will have loosened the skin from the tomato flesh so it should come off easily.
Now half the tomatoes and cut out the core and remove the seeds. You can leave the seeds in if you like but this is the traditional way to make tomato bruschetta.
Put the tomato flesh into a bowl and chop up quite finely.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. You can add some olive oil and white wine vinegar here if you like but since the bruschetta itself has plenty of olive oil I tend to just add a wee drizzle later when serving.
Spoon the chopped tomato on top of your prepared bruschetta, add a few basil leaves and a little drizzle of olive oil. You can add more seasoning now if you wish.
That’s it – easy simple homemade tomato bruschetta.
How to serve bruschetta
Bruschetta is traditionally served as an antipasto before a meal. It is perfect served with a glass of wine either in the afternoon or in the evening enjoying the sunset. Go on, imagine you are in Tuscany!
Make your bruschetta smaller and they make perfect party nibbles.
Toppings for bruschetta
In the photo above I have shown a few different toppings commonly found on bruschetta in Italy.
Liver paste; simply chicken livers lightly cooked and whizzed up with some seasoning. A very basic chicken liver pate really.
Black olive spread. This is simply made by stoning black olives and whizzing them up with salt and pepper.
Sun-dried tomatoes (here is my recipe for homemade oven-dried sun-dried tomatoes) with anchovy fillets.
Pesto of any type topped with sliced tomatoes – I have an entire section here on all sorts of different homemade pesto recipes.
Here is one of my real favourites
Ricotta, pancetta and peas with basil bruschetta
This is a delightful bruschetta recipe and just a little different. Make your basic bruschetta as shown above and top with a spoonful of creamy Italian ricotta cheese (you can use my recipe for homemade fresh ricotta cheese).
Now add a few slices of pancetta lightly fried for just a minute and torn into small pieces, some peas quickly cooked then plunged into cold water and drained and then topped off with basil leaves and some salt and pepper.
This is such a lovely springtime bruschetta recipe.
How long does bruschetta keep?
You can toast your bread and pop this in a sealed container and it will keep for up to a week. Then simply reheat a little and rub with the garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Warming the toast up a little helps the garlic to really sink into the bread and give it all that marvelous flavour.
Looking for more fun Italian style recipes to try? Then check these out before you go;
Finally, if you do try this recipe don’t forget to leave a comment/star rating below as I just love to hear from readers. Want more Larder Love? Then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and sign up for my newsletter too of course.
Easy homemade Bruschetta Recipe
- 200 g bread basic French loaf
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
For tomato topping
- 2 large tomatoes
- 10 basil leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
- Slice the bread into 1cm slices either straight or at an angle for larger slices
- Toast under grill till golden, turn over and do other side
- Peel and cut garlic cloves in half and rub the cut side of the garlic over all slices of toast
- Drizzle with the olive oil
To make the tomato topping
- Peel the tomatoes by immersing in boiling water for 1 minute then removing skin with a knife
- Half and remove core and seeds then chop up the tomato flesh and season with salt and black pepper
- Spoon the tomato topping on to the prepared bruschetta and top with basil leaves, salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil