BRUSCHETTA WITH TOMATOES AND BASIL
The Best Recipe, by Editors of Cook's Illustrated Magazine
This is the classic bruschetta, although you can substitute other herbs. Decrease the quantity of stronger herbs, such as thyme or oregano.
Makes 8 Large Slices
• 4 medium ripe tomatoes (about 1 2/3 pounds), cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 1/3 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
• Salt and ground black pepper
• 1 12 x 5-inch loaf country bread, sliced crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces, ends removed
• 1 large garlic clove, peeled
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1. Heat broiler or light grill fire.
2. Mix tomatoes, basil, and salt and pepper to taste in medium bowl. Set aside.
3. Broil or grill bread until golden brown on both sides. Place toast slices on large platter, rub garlic over tops, then brush with oil.
4. Use slotted spoon to divide tomato mixture among toast slices. Serve immediately.
Authentic Italian garlic bread, called bruschetta, is never squishy or soft. Crisp, toasted slices of country bread are rubbed with raw garlic, brushed with extra-virgin olive oil (never butter), and then slathered with various ingredients. Toppings can be as simple as salt and pepper or fresh herbs. Ripe tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, or sauteed onions make more substantial toppings.
We found that narrow loaves of Italian bread are not suitable for bruschetta. Crusty country loaves that will yield larger slices are preferable. Oblong loaves that measure about five inches across are best, but round loaves will work. As for thickness, we found that about one inch provides enough heft to support weighty toppings and gives a good chew.
Toasting the bread, which can be done over a grill fire or under the broiler, creates little jagged edges that will pull off tiny bits of garlic when the raw clove is rubbed over the bread. For more garlic flavor, rub vigorously.
Oil can be drizzled over the garlicky toast or brushed on for more even coverage. One large piece of toast is enough for a single appetizer serving. Two or three slices will make a good lunch when accompanied by a salad.