I’m sure there are intriguing and perverse stories about how multi-step, complicated French dishes came about. And as much as I love French cooking, I am more interested in the natural and practical origins of Italian cuisine. Simply put, the Italians found the most delicious things in their surroundings and made every effort to bring out the natural goodness. Italians rarely cover anything with sauce. They embrace each piece of fish, or tomato or drop of fresh new olive oil with equal enjoyment and praise. Now that’s romantic. It’s no coincidence that the first letters of romantic are ROMA.
I have featured a few different variations of the bruschetta here. The original was simply a toasted piece of bread, rubbed with garlic and drizzled with new olive oil. The word actually comes from the Italian to roast over coals. The story goes that when the new olive oil was first pressed that farmers would toast a piece of (probably stale) bread and dip it in the new olive oil to taste.
Here is the original recipe with a couple of options that I discovered the other day. Like many a recipe here (and everywhere) this is about getting your imagination going. What would you put on top of your toasted baguette? Let me know and I will share it with others.
- Baguette, sliced
- Young Olive Oil
- Garlic Cloves
- Really Fresh Tomato, sliced thinly (optional)
- Aged Gouda, shaved (optional)
- Basil Leaves (optional)
- Salt and Pepper (optional)
- Grill or Grill Pan or Toaster Oven
- Chef’s Knife
- Vegetable Peeler (for shaving cheese)
- Toast the bread on one side.
- Remove the skin from the garlic and flatten with a flat part of the knife.
- Turn bread and rub the top side with garlic. Leave little bits behind as the garlic falls apart.
- Place a few shaves of the cheese on each piece so it can melt slightly.
- Remove toast and add one thin slice of tomato and a piece of basil on each.
- Drizzle liberally with olive oil. The original would have been completely soaked in the oil.
- Salt and pepper.