Dictionary

Bruschetta

Bruschetta is a classic Italian antipasti dish that is served as an appetiser or snack. It is one of the most popular antipasti, served at restaurants all over the world. Bruschetta is traditionally made from toasted slices of baguette that have been rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. While the dish is very simple and quick to prepare, it is the freshness of the ingredients which give bruschetta its prized flavour. The fresher and better quality ingredients used, the better bruschetta. There are several variations of bruschetta including diced tomato, cheese, beans, and cured meats. The most popular variation outside of Italy is bruschetta served with diced tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese.

Italian variations of bruschetta

In Italy, bruschetta is most often made using a brustolina grill. Every region has its own variations of bruschetta, with different toppings and methods of serving the dish. Sometimes even different breads are used, such as ciabatta or Paris rolls. Tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil are the most popular toppings but there can also be olives, mozzarella, cured meats, capers, or basil.

In Tuscan cooking, bruschetta is referred to as fettunta and serves as a method of tasting the first olive oil of the season. It is served simple, with just garlic and olive oil. Many areas of the region also serve bruschetta with deli meats like fresh sausage, prosciutto crudo, chicken liver, or lard. In Naples, bruschetta is prized for its inclusion of fresh roma tomatoes. In Piedmont, bruschetta is topped with just one slice of tomato and often accompanied with fresh grapes. Calabrian bruschetta includes a sprinkle of oregano and black pepper. In the southern region of Abruzzo, bruschetta is topped with a type of salame called ventricina. This is made by stuffing a pig bladder with minced pork and seasoning, and ageing the meat. The pork paste is then spread on the sliced baguette and grilled.

History of bruschetta

While many believe bruschetta had its beginnings in 15th century Italy, others have also said that bruschetta has its origins in the Etruscan age. This would place the origins at around 900BC. The Etruscans were occupying the area between Rome and Tuscany, and they were known to best enjoy their bread when it was a day old and slightly stale. They would slice the bread, rub it with a clove of garlic, and top it with olive oil. The bread would then be toasted in an oven, making what could be termed the first bruschetta.

The ingredients in bruschetta are very simple, yet the key is in using very young, recently pressed olive oil. Etruscans were also said to use bruschetta as a means of testing the first olive oil of the season. They would sample the freshly pressed olive oils by drizzling them on sliced bread. The bruschetta served as a way to determine quality. Bruschetta was also a way for Italian farmers to make use of old bread. It was a simple, fast, affordable, and hearty meal. For the farmers, bruschetta was best enjoyed with a glass of wine.