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Bruschetta

Bruschetta is the forerunner of garlic bread, popular in Italy for at least 500 years. The essential ingredient is a loaf of bread in the Tuscan style: with a thick, dark crust and a coarse interior, with an up-front yeasty flavor. French bread will do in a pinch, but it’s worth buying a loaf of bread in a rustic style to make this. Bruschetta is the perfect appetizer to make when you have a surplus of tomatoes. The riper they are, the better.

Carmelo-Bruschetta

By the way, it’s pronounced “brooss-KET-tah.” Not “broo-shet-tah.”

  • 1 loaf crusty, rustic bread
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh garlic
  • 5 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
  • 24-30 leaves fresh basil, sliced into ribbons
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt (sea salt makes sense here)
  • 1 1/2 cups ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 oz. ricotta salata cheese, shredded

1. Combine the olive oil, garlic, parsley, basil, black pepper and salt in a cup.

2. Slice the loaf of bread on the bias to make slices a little less than an inch thick and about four inches across. Using a hot grill, broiler, or toaster oven, toast the bread until medium brown.

3. Stir the olive oil mixture well and spoon about a teaspoon of it across each slice of bread. Cover that with a layer of the chopped tomato. Drizzle another teaspoon of the olive oil mixture across the tomatoes, and top with a sprinkle of the ricotta salata.

Serve while the bread is still warm. You can keep it warm in an oven that’s barely on, but not for long–the tomatoes should remain cool.

Serves eight to twelve.

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