Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil
Bruschetta is a very special type of toasted bread, pronounced brusketta.
When I first tasted the real thing in Tuscany, it was one of the most memorable eating experiences of my life. Italian country bread is toasted on both sides over hot, fragrant coals, then slashes are made along the surface of each piece of bread, which is then rubbed with an open clove of garlic. After that, peppery Italian extra virgin olive oil is poured over quite generously so that it runs into the bread, making little pools all around the base of the plate. The pleasure and joy in its utter simplicity are indescribable. Given that few of us have hot coals handy (though don't forget bruschetta during the barbecue season), the next best thing is a cast-iron ridged griddle or, failing that, an ordinary domestic grill. Good bread, good olive oil - what more could you want? Just two things: very red, ripe plum tomatoes and basil leaves. It's perhaps the best bruschetta of all, and perfect for serving with drinks before a meal instead of serving a starter.
You can also watch how to make bruschetta in our Cookery School Video, just press the play button on the recipe image.
This recipe is from Delia's Complete How to Cook. Serves 4-6
To start, chop the tomatoes finely, leaving the skin on but discarding the cores.
Pre-heat the dry ridged griddle over a high heat for about 10 minutes. When it's really hot, place the slices of bread – on the diagonal – and grill them for about 1 minute on each side, until they're golden and crisp and have charred strips across each side. (Alternatively, toast them under a pre-heated conventional grill.) As they are ready, place them on a cooling rack, then when cooled take a sharp knife and make 3 little slashes across each piece and spread with the garlic puree (see How to Prepare Garlic) then drizzle each one with a teaspoon of olive oil.
When the bruschettas are made top with the tomatoes. Then season with salt and freshly milled black pepper and finish each one with a basil leaf (or a piece of basil leaf) and sprinkle a few more drops of olive oil over before serving. It's hard to believe that something so simple can be so wonderful.