Bruschetta

Bruschetta is an Italian appetizer originating in medieval times and usually consists of a charred bread infused with garlic, olive oil salt and pepper.

Variations can include topping the bread with prosciutto, grilled peppers and the ever popular tomato based 'salsa' outlined in this recipe.

Bruschetta's attraction lies in it's simplicity and by using the freshest possible ingredients you are assured of a delicious dish that can be served as an entree or a complete and healthy meal.

We are always looking for a variation on the basic BBQ when it comes to camping food and bruschetta fills the gap nicely.By doubling up on quantities and keeping the mix refrigerated we have the basic dish to be used as a topping for bread, a salsa that can be added to corn chips and cheese for an instant 'mexican' nacho style snack or a fresh side dish to accompany a steak and some crisp greens.

The seeds of the tomatoes are discarded in this recipe. Some years ago, a friend on opening his new and now distinguished restaurant, was dismayed on recieving a poor newspaper review from a well known food critic. His hand rolled pasta and portofoglios (wallets of fillet steak filled with prosciutto) had hit the spot but the bitter tomato seeds in his Bruschetta had proven to be a unacceptable to the critic.The other advantage to the removal of the seeds, apart from taste, is that the mixture is drier and doesn't saturate the bread.

Traditionally the bread would be charred on a fire and rubbed with a clove of garlic and dipped in olive oil.

We haven't used any garlic with the tomato in this recipe - instead make a more conventional type of garlic bread and charring it over an open fire after infusing it with garlic.

The tomato should be served slightly chilled to provide a contrast to the warm bread.


Bruschetta
Ingredients (for 2 as a meal or 4 as an appetizer)

1/2 small red onion, cut into 5mm dice.

4 ripe Italian style tomatoes such as Romas, seeded and cut into 5mm dice.

4 tablespoons finely chopped continental parsley.

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil.

4 tablespoons quality extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon coarsley ground black pepper

generous pinch of salt


Bread

4 generous slices of Italian style bread.

1 tablespoon of olive oil.

2 tablespoon of butter.

1 garlic clove, very finely chopped


Garnish

Shaved Italian style cheese like Romano or Pecorino


Method

Mix tomatoes and onion together in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss well.

Add the chopped parsley and basil, pour over the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, mix well and refrigerate.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil and butter in a shallow pan and then gently saute the garlic.

Add the bread piece by piece until each slice is evenly coated with the oil and garlic mixture. Turn the bread so both sides absorb the flavor. Care needs to be taken to distribute the butter/oil/garlic mixture evenly between the slices of bread, ensuring the first piece doesn't soak up all of the coating.

Now toast both sides of the bread to a golden crisp colour over an open fire. (If cooking Bruschetta at home, this can be done under a grill). The idea is to get the outer layer of the bread to crisp a little while maintaining the softness of good oil infused bread inside - much like cooking a regular garlic or herb bread. The crisping or 'charring' adds contrast and helps deflect some of the moisture from the tomato.

Place the bread on a plate and ladle the chilled tomato on top, followed by a shaving of the Italian cheese as garnish and serve immediately.

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