Bruschetta (pronounced brew-sket-uh) is not the same dish in the old country that it is here in the states. The chopped tomato bruschetta popular here is actually only one of many varieties. At its base, bruschetta is simply a dish of grilled bread, rubbed with garlic and brushed with olive oil. The dish gets its name from the latin word, bruscare, which means to grill. With grilled bread at the base, just about anything you put on top can be called bruschetta.
Below is a recipe for the most popular variety outside of Italy, the familiar chopped tomato and basil bruschetta, but there are many good options out there. Two of my other favorites are roasted beet with goat cheese and bell pepper with ricotta. But there is no variety more classic than tomato with garlic and basil.
There is a reason that this appetizer is such a classic. It is light, it is refreshing, it absolutely screams of summer, and it is actually quite easy to put together. It is delicious any time of year, but especially delightful if you happen to have a few nice, ripe tomatoes fresh from the garden.
1½ lbs. Roma tomatoes, seeded
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 tbsp good olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
6-8 basil leaves, chiffonade
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
Seed the tomatoes and chop them to a large dice. Add minced garlic, finely chopped basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Place this in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
Serve a dollop on good grilled bread slices brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt.