Bruschetta and the basic art of Italian cooking

Bruschetta is a food that originated in central Italy. In Tuscany, Bruschetta is called fettunta — which literally means ‘oiled slices’. In the U.S., we tend to think of Bruschetta mainly as grilled slices of Italian bread with fresh tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and garlic. In Italy, it is one of the easiest and quickest dishes to prepare for a casual dinner or evening with family or friends. And there are so many variations with a variety of ingredients that complement each other.

Its main advantage is that the ingredients used to make Bruschetta don’t require long periods of time for cooking or preparation. If you follow the classic recipes for Bruschetta, all you need is an oven for toasting the bread and, mainly, great authentic Italian bread (should be crusty on the outside and soft inside), garlic and extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil.

Like all great Italian recipes, each type of Bruschetta is made with a small amount of ingredients and each ingredient is important to the taste of the finished product. So, each ingredient used must be the best quality; i.e., extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil, fresh mozzarella, authentic cheese, fresh vegetables, fresh cheeses, good quality meats or fish.

If you’d like to throw a Bruschetta party, which is a great summertime idea, you can put together a simple quick yet fun and delicious party by arranging the following ingredients on a table and letting the guests choose their choice of toppings:

• 1 bottle of extra olive oil with pourer top for drizzling • Fresh mozzarella cut into small cubes
• Chopped hazelnuts and walnuts
• Pignoli nuts

• Chopped olives- green and black
• Steamed, peeled, cleaned shrimp
• Grilled vegetables- eggplant, peppers, onions
• Tomatoes, cut into small cubes (should be fresh andripe plum tomatoes)
• Celery leaves chopped
• Basil leaves chopped
• Anchovies canned in olive oil
• Arugula
• Provolone cheese cut into cubes
• Thinly sliced prosciutto
• Pesto sauce

BRUSCHETTA RECIPES

Every region of Italy has its favorite Bruschetta recipes and it is more usual to find in the central and southern parts of Italy. Here are some of my favorite Bruschetta recipes. Serve as an appetizer or for a quick light dinner for two or four. For two, make half of each recipe and share. For four, make the full recipe and serve in four.

Bruschetta con limone (Bruschetta with lemon)

Ingredients

1 fresh lemon- squeezed
1 lb. of crusty Italian bread- sliced into 1/2” slices
Handful of fresh parsley finely chopped
1/2 lb of smoked salmon- cut into small pieces
1/4 cup of whipped cottage cheese or cream cheese
Olive oil for drizzling
Instructions
Place bread slices on grill or in oven under broiler till golden

and crispy. Drizzle with just about 1 tsp. of olive oil on each slice. Remove, while still hot, and spread on whipped cottage cheese. Place chopped salmon and chopped parsley on top of cheese. Drizzle about 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice on top and serve. This recipe serves four and each serving is about 200 calories.

Bruschetta con filetto (Bruschetta with filet)

Ingredients

1 fresh carrot
1/4 lb. fresh mushrooms
2 tblsps. extra virgin olive oil
1 small golden onion
1 lb. of crusty Italian bread
1/4 lb. of potatoes
1 celery stalk
1/4 cup ripe cherry tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
1 lb. of filet of flounder
Instructions
Wash all vegetables and cut into small cubes. In a large frying pan, place in olive oil and half of the onion chopped. When oil just starts to bubble, add in flounder cut into small pieces. Let flounder cook for about three minutes then add in the toma- toes (cut into cubes) and the other vegetables. Pour white wine over all, let wine evaporate. Stir gently, every so often. Let cook for another minute or until golden. When finished, remove from heat. Grill bread sliced into 1/4” to 1/2” thick slices. When bread is golden and crusty take out of oven, top with flounder mixture and serve. This recipe serves four and is about 150 calories for each serving.

Buona Bruschetta!!!!