Classic Italian bruschetta includes rustic bread, extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic and a dash of salt. A tomato and basil mixture is the traditional topping, but olives, onions or cheese are also common.
Bruschetta, pronounced "bru-sket-ah," is a dish of celebration, a simple way to enjoy the first pressing of olive oil. Bread toasted over an open fire, rubbed with garlic and drizzled with oil is the essence of bruschetta. The best way to enjoy the dish is to use the finest ingredients available and to keep it simple.
The olive oil should be extra-virgin; it is the star of the dish. If home-baked bread is not an option, a round of dense Italian loaf is a good alternative. Firm, sweet garlic and coarsely ground salt round out the basics.
Pulling together the dish starts with slicing the bread 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and toasting the slices for a few moments on each side until brown and crunchy. Using an open flame grill is traditional but a broiler or a dry pan also work. The next step includes rubbing unpeeled and halved garlic cloves over one side of the toast, squeezing them to extract the juice. The final step is to drizzle the olive oil over the bread and sprinkle it with a small amount of salt. Even if adding toppings, leaving a few pieces without allows the experience of classic bruschetta.