Fresh Italian Bruschetta on a toasted baguette is a delicious appetizer or snack. Audrey is my mother-in-law from Chicago and she is a fantastic cook. She learned this authentic Italian recipe from her friend Mary who grew up on the south side of Chicago, so this is the real deal. It is fresh, healthy, light and you can make it as garlicy as you like. I happen to love the garlic, so I went a bit heavy with it. Below is the recipe.
1 ½ lbs fresh tomatoes
½ cup fresh basil
5 or 6 garlic cloves crushed and chopped
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp dried oregano
¼ cup of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Crush and chop the garlic cloves. Pour the olive oil into a small skillet and add the garlic and oregano. Heat the pan on low heat so as not to burn the garlic for 2 – 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and set the oil & garlic aside to cool. If you want to reduce the garlic flavor, remove some or all of the garlic from the oil.
De-seed, dice and chop the tomatoes, you will want the pieces to be small about ¼ inch or so (mine in the pictures were a little larger than Audrey’s because the tomatoes were pretty ripe and didn’t dice well). Drain any excess juice and put the diced tomatoes into a medium bowl. Stack and roll the basil leaves and slice into thin strips. Chop the basil roughly and add it to the tomatoes.
Add the balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste and stir. After the garlicy oil has cooled completely, add it to the tomatoes. Stir well. Let the bruschetta rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour. It is better if it can sit overnight.
1 small baguette
4 Tbsp olive oil, approximately. Add more oil if needed.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Thinly slice the baguette, approximately ¼ to 1/3 inch thick. Lay the sliced bread in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Brush the top of the pieces with olive oil and bake for 5 to 9 minutes or until lightly browned on the edges. Bake times will vary some depending on your oven.
To serve, simply top the toast with a spoonful of bruschetta and enjoy with a light chilled rose or a buttery chilled chardonnay while imagining you are lounging on the Amalfi coast.
I like this recipe because besides being delicious & easy to make, it is full of healthy ingredients. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene which is powerful antioxidant that has been shown to reduce inflammation. Here is a helpful article https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-lycopene . Garlic, according to Dr. David Khayat in his book The Anti-Cancer Diet, “ Whenever you can, add them to your food”. Basil is high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ursolic acid and olive oil is a healthy oil unsaturated fat that is rich in phytonutrients.
I hope you enjoy this delicious bruschetta as much as my family does, buon appetito!