Wednesday, July 10, 2013

broo skéttə or Bruschetta

I love saying broo skéttə. Apparently, that's how the Italians say it. Everytime I order this at a restaurant, I ask for "broo skéttə" mostly because of how much fun I have saying it. I'm pretty sure the waiter thinks I'm pretentious :)

This is such an easy dish to make and I love all kinds of crostini. If I see a bruschetta on the menu, 9 out of 10 times, I'll order it. What's not to love, grilled slices of bread, yummy toppings, bite/2 bite size. Its my kind of food. I make several types of toppings but the traditional or should I say popular (ie tomato based), balsamic mushroom and eggplant caponata are my favorites.
We'll leave mushroom and caponata for some other time, will surely make for a great post. Today, its all about the tomato topping. I've had several versions of even the tomato toppings. I've seen a variety of vinegars used. I've seen with and without onions and/or garlic. Most store bought varieties have onions in them. I find that too much like salsa. Flavors of Italy ought not to be mixed with flavors of Spain!

This makes for great party food since its so low on effort. If making a large batch, I'd recommend toasting the bread in the oven.See my instructions below. Also if making this ahead *do not* add garlic. It makes everything rancid and will ruin your topping. Either completely leave it out or add at the time of serving.

So here is the recipe, scale it up as needed.

2 Plum Tomatoes
1 cloves of Garlic
dry or fresh Basil (1/2 tbsp or 4-5 leaves chopped)
Balsamic Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Bread loaf - any crusty variety, ciabatta or sourdough are my favorite

- Boil 2 cups of water in a saucepan and when it rolls to a boil, turn off the heat and put the tomatoes in. Wait for just 1 min and pull them out.
- Score the tomato in any one spot with a knife and start peeling the skin off. Careful, the tomato skin will be hot.
- Once peeled, cut into half, deseed (if you prefer, I like to keep the seeds) and chop into small pieces
The quantity of the topping will be less if you deseed and for larger groups may need more tomatoes. The above pic is of partially deseeded tomato.
- Crush garlic with the back of a knife.
- In a bowl, add garlic, all dry basil or half of the freshly chopped basil and 2-3 splashes of balsamic vinegar.

Note: Use a small amount of balsamic vinegar since you want to just flavor the topping and not dress it like a salad. This is important to ensure you dont end up with a runny topping on your bread.

- Add olive oil, salt and pepper and whisk with a fork. Toss in the chopped tomato.

- Slice bread loaf on a bias to create nice slices.
- Drizzle with olive oil and either grill on a grill pan, on a grill or on a regular pan. Allow edges to get a browned and then take then off. Let it cool before serving.
Note: For large batches, slice bread and arrange on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Pre-heat oven to 350 and grill for 5-7 mins checking at 5 mins for the brown edges.

When ready to serve, spoon the tomato mixture over the grilled bread, add rest of the fresh basil on top (dividing between number of slices of bread) and eat! Pair with a nice wine, and you will feel like a million bucks!
If you like cheese or have a block of parmesan handy, add parmesan shavings on top, it adds an awesome nuttiness to the bruschetta.

Note: You can refrigerate the topping for a few hrs to serve as a cold appetizer. However, dont add garlc since crushed garlic doesnt do well in the vinegar/oil mix for long period of time. It will make the entire topping bitter.

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