Bruschetta is the forerunner of garlic bread, popular in Italy for at least 500 years. The essential ingredient is a loaf of bread in the Tuscan style: with a thick, dark crust and a coarse interior, with an up-front yeasty flavor. French bread will do in a pinch, but it's worth buying a loaf of bread in a rustic style to make this. Bruschetta is the perfect appetizer to make when you have a surplus of tomatoes. The riper they are, the better.
- 1 loaf crusty, rustic bread
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh garlic
- 5 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
- 24-30 leaves fresh basil, sliced into ribbons
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. salt (sea salt preferred)
- 1 1/2 cups ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped into 1/2-inch dice
- 4 oz. ricotta salata cheese, shredded
1. Combine the olive oil, garlic, parsley, basil, black pepper and salt in a cup.
2. Slice the loaf of bread on the bias to make slices a little less than an inch thick and about four inches across. Using a hot grill, broiler, or toaster oven, toast the bread until medium brown.
3. Stir the olive oil mixture well and spoon about a teaspoon of it across each slice of bread. Cover that with a layer of the chopped tomato. Drizzle another teaspoon of the olive oil mixture across the tomatoes, and top with a sprinkle of the ricotta salata.
Serve while the bread is still warm. You can keep it warm in an oven that's barely on, but not for long--the tomatoes should remain cool.
Serves eight to twelve.
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