what’s cooking wednesday: bruschetta al pomodoro

I’m not going to lie to you–I’m not cooking a whole lot these days. Throughout the summer we eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, doing very little to even try to flavor them because, quite honestly, they just don’t need it.

So for this week’s What’s Cooking Wednesday, I’m offering you something fast, easy, and delicious: Bruschetta al Pomodoro, or Bruschetta with Tomatoes–grilled bread topped with a summery mix of fresh tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt, and olive oil.

But before we get to the recipe, a little more on bruschetta:

First of all, we should start with something very basic: it’s pronounced “brew-SKET-tah” and not as many in America have heard, “brew-SHET-tah.” If you want to impress Italians, this is a good one to stick in your back pocket.

The origins of bruschetta are said to date back to the 15th century in central Italy (Rome and Tuscany fight over this) when olive oil makers brought bread to the mills and toasted it over a small fire used to keep warm during the November and December production. Then they poured freshly made olive oil over the bread to test it, perhaps rubbing in some garlic first, and early bruschetta was born.

Indeed, the term bruschetta actually refers to the bread and olive oil combination–the tomatoes were an (ingenious) afterthought, and it’s how most of us know this toasted bread combo today.

As you might imagine, the quality of olive oil greatly affects the quality of the bruschetta, so try to get the best you can for this recipe.

The bread though? This is perfect for using up that great loaf that went stale (and indeed, this is probably what made it so popular in Italy before it spread to the rest of the world).

Bruschetta al Pomodoro
(Bruschetta with Tomatoes)

*makes 6 pieces

6 thick slices Italian or French style bread
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large, ripe tomatoes (or more if smaller), diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
4 large basil leaves, chopped
sprinkling of oregano and salt

Prepare the tomato mixture first to give the flavors time to blend.

A note on preparing the tomatoes, especially if they are rather juicy, you might want to give them a squeeze before dicing to get rid of excess juice; otherwise the mixture gets a little runny and messy once you try to put it on the bread. Some also recommend cleaning out all the seeds, which you can do as well, but I don’t. And if you don’t like skins, parboil the tomatoes for a minute in boiling water just removed from the burner and then peel with a sharp knife.

In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, olive oil, basil, oregano, and salt to taste. (You can use either oregano or basil as well–both are not necessary.)

Grill or toast bread. I do mine with a grill pan on the stove, but you can use a broiler, the oven, a toaster, whatever works for you.

When the bread is toasted and still hot, rub well with the “raw” side of the garlic cloves.

Spoon the tomato mixture on top, and serve hot.

Other notes:

  • I’ve seen some recipes that call for the garlic chopped up and in the mixture with tomatoes, which is another option, but for me, it’s too strong of a garlic flavor; I, obviously, do as described above.
  • Feel free to play with this recipe adding whatever you like to the mixture–black olives, capers, cheese, other grilled vegetables. It’s very versatile and great for a summer (or anytime) party.

Buon appetito!

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[tags]bruschetta, bruschetta al pomodoro, bruschetta with tomatoes, tomatoes, appetizers, recipes, what’s cooking wednesday[/tags]

32 Beans of Wisdom to “what’s cooking wednesday: bruschetta al pomodoro”
  1. Paolo
    07.11.2007

    managgia, di nuovo mi fa venire l’acquolina in bocca…

    dimmi, quando farete la cena? verrò subito.

  2. traveller one
    07.11.2007

    Luckily for us most restaurants in Albania are Italian and not bad Italian at that! At this time of year when tomatoes are perfect Bruschetta is hard to resist- but why would you resist anyway?? Yum yum!

  3. Antonino Condorelli
    07.11.2007

    Hey.
    Good Bruschetta. I’m hungry and a good, big, bruschetta with hot pepper it would be great.
    I want to suggest also, for Americans trying to do bruschetta to do bruschetta adding tuna fish and onion at sognatrice recipe. And also you can do bruschetta without tomatos but with rosted peppers and garlic and parsley. Also, if you like pig meat and you’ll find in American shops you can do bruschetta with pig entrails.
    Well I’m going to have a bruschetta now. Buon appetito

  4. Paolo
    07.11.2007

    My mouth is no longer watering.

  5. sognatrice
    07.11.2007

    Paolo, è quasi pronta…sbrigati!

    Traveller, Albania and Italia have a rather interesting relationship–glad you’re benefiting :) And yes, bruschetta in the summer…why would one say no?

    Antonino, great tips (except as I write below)! I *love* roasted peppers–haven’t seen any great ones yet, though. Perhaps Friday in Soverato. Tuna…mmm….

    Paolo, yeah you don’t really eat meat as I recall (some white?), so I guess pig entrails aren’t going to do it for you. Me neither, actually. I’m not fond of any organs really (except those that play music, of course).

  6. Paolo
    07.11.2007

    Michelle, please. I’m from Philly, remember? I was raised on scrapple, which I believe is Pennsylvania German for “the crud we scraped off the slaughterhouse floor.” I do avoid it now, but mainly so Denise will still kiss me after…

    I was just teasing Antonino on his admirable directness. You see Antonino, Americans – maybe English-speakers in general – are very fussy about what we call our meat. Cattle is “beef,” pig is “pork,” chicken is “chicken” but we usually call the birds “roosters” or “hens” so we don’t offend our delicate sensibilities.

    I am sure there is a suitable euphemism for “pig entrails,” but that just sounds like something you’d use in a voodoo rite.

  7. Paolo
    07.11.2007

    Ah! Antonino was talking about chitlins.

    Chitlin bruschetta – I’d try that once. I would definitely love to see that on a menu…

  8. Carole D.
    07.11.2007

    You just reminded me of the delicious bruschetta I had while visiting my family in Sicilia.
    Come mi manca tutto!

    Michelle, I’m still a faithful reader of your blog, just don’t comment as much. I’m waiting in suspense for all the answers to the questions posted.

  9. Antonino Condorelli
    07.11.2007

    NOOOO!!! I’m talking about CICOLI- FRESULIMITI (Please Sognatrice Ask P what I’m talkinga bout) or http://it.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ciccioli&oldid=9786825

  10. Antonino Condorelli
    07.11.2007

    In Italian we cal them FRATTAGLIE

  11. sognatrice
    07.11.2007

    Paolo, oh no you didn’t bring Scrapple into an otherwise respectable What’s Cooking Wednesday. Although my Pennsylvania Dutch mom would love you forever, I’m getting a bit nauseated.

    And chitlins bruschetta? Talk about fusion cooking!

  12. sognatrice
    07.11.2007

    Carole, glad you’re still around; I didn’t doubt it for one second ;)

    Antonino, I’ll have to ask. All I know about is frittole, and that too makes me a bit ill to think about. I’m sure P *loves* whatever entrails you’re referring too–he rather likes organs (that’s for you Paolo).

  13. Karen
    07.11.2007

    All this talk of entrails is making me wistful for my times in Kitchener-Waterloo, here in Ontario. Pig tails are common fare there. Hmmm, a future WCW post perhaps?

  14. Marmite Breath
    07.11.2007

    Thanks for clearing up the pronunciation thing. My most unfavourite thing in the world is to go to an Italian restaurant, order the bruschetta and have the waitress say, “Oh, you mean the brooshedda?” and I’m always like, “Um, no, it is BROOSKETTA and I should TOTALLY know because I LIVED IN ITALY FOR THREE YEARS and my son was born there which means that I am an absolute expert in ALL THINGS ITALIAN so DON’T MESS WITH ME!!”

    Actually, I just cringe and kick Aaron under the table to make myself feel better.

  15. sognatrice
    07.11.2007

    Karen, you can mark this down in whatever kind of blood you like–there will never be pig tails featured on What’s Cooking Wednesday–on cute little girls someday, perhaps, but definitely none of the pork persuasion.

    Marmite, laughing makes it hard to type, so try to be less funny with your next comment please. Poor Aaron who has to suffer for the ignorance of wait staff….

    I think this actually may be the funniest comment string I’ve ever had here…thanks for the laughs everyone :)

  16. JennieBoo
    07.11.2007

    I love your recipes so much!

    I believe I’ll be making this for dinner Saturday when we have company over. A perfect appetizer?

    We’re having ravoli with spinach and strawberry salad. Chocolate gelato for dessert and red wine and cheese.

    What ya think?

  17. Judith in Umbria
    07.11.2007

    As an Umbrian, I have practical info. Bruschetta is made with stale bread. If it is a bit over stale, grill just one side so it doesn’t shatter and end up on you (and the floor and all over the room) instead of in you.

    That said, how about our nice canellini ones? Or lardo? Or without garlic but with white truffle?

  18. Kimberly
    07.11.2007

    We’re having guests for dinner tonight…and suddenly I’m considering a slight menu adjustment!

  19. sognatrice
    07.12.2007

    Jennie, sounds like a great dinner you have planned (photos please!). And I might be biased, but I think bruschetta is always a good appetizer (or light meal, snack, whatever) ;)

    Judith, I’ll use stale bread if I have it, but sometimes then I don’t like the taste so much–depends on the bread. But oh to get white truffles! We have plenty of black ones down here, but I’ve never even seen the whites on sale!

    Kimberly, another great thing about this recipe is that there aren’t too many ingredients–even if you don’t have them handy, easy to shop for in a pinch! Hope your dinner went well :)

  20. darlene
    07.12.2007

    looks fantastic!!

  21. Jér
    07.12.2007

    Bruschetta is so easy to make, but it always gets compliments. The way I make it, I mince the garlic as finely as possible, use the juiciest tomatoes possible and catch all the juice, and then let it sit overnight so that the flavors blend. It’s AMAZING. But then, I like my bruschetta dripping with tomato juice and eye-wateringly garlicky, so that may not appeal to everyone.

    Oh, and I’m a vegetarian now, but bruschetta with tuna fish and fresh mozzarella, where the tuna flavor and mozzarella whey mix in with the tomato juices . . . heavenly.

  22. Texas Espresso
    07.12.2007

    one of my favorite things! I make many a meal off of bruschetta. perfect when you don’t feel like cooking much or eating heavy. delicious simplicity! I am not very creative with other toppings but have had some YUMMY variations of it in Italy. ahhh memories…lol

  23. KC
    07.12.2007

    The bruschetta in that photo looks so good that it makes me want to eat tomatoes! I haven’t been able to eat them for weeks. But maybe bruschetta is the answer! Definitely without the pig entrails that Antonio suggests, though. I can’t imagine that would be good for pregnant ladies. :P

  24. JoAnn-NL
    07.12.2007

    Hi M, I LOVED ‘and still do but….’ to eat that type of bread,( Thanks, I know how to pronounce it!) when I was living in Rome, I used to eat Brushetta al Pomodoro often.

    Here in Holland ‘its not the same’ the bread isn’t that fresh as in Italy, we even can buy her the tomato sauce “in a tan’ also tasteless. No!!

    Give my than this recipe, i’ll try it for sure. Thanks for the clear recipe and the story around it. I’ll eat it without the garlic cause I don’t like that! I know I know…. Without garlic, Thats not typical Italian…

  25. My Melange
    07.12.2007

    Mmmmm, I love bruschetta….extra garlic and extra basil please…..

  26. Figs Olives Wine
    07.12.2007

    So many New Yorkers say “Brooshett” It makes me irrationally tense. So do “Proshoot” and “Moozarell.” But it’s just another dialect, after all! Do people in Philly do that too?

  27. Rebecca
    07.12.2007

    Tomatoes in the UK are tasteless…..so I can imagine, after devouring almost a month’s worth of tomatoes on the Continent that your recipe is delicious THERE. Here it would not be! Sad.

  28. sognatrice
    07.13.2007

    Darlene, any red food is always so inviting to me; I hope you’ll give this one a go!

    Jèr, I love that so many Italian dishes are so easy to make but end up looking and tasting so impressive. I can only imagine what your breath is like after the garlic has sat *overnight* in the mixture! Better you than me ;)

    Texas, I make a meal out of this too. I’m more of a many small things kind of eater anyway, so bruschetta with a little tuna and bean salad…yum :)

    KC, hah! If your doctor was worried about prosciutto crudo, I’m not sure pig entrails would go over well. I sure hope you can eat tomatoes again soon; I thought your baby was Italian! ;)

    JoAnn, no offense taken if you choose to go without the garlic–to each her own…besides, it looks like My Melange will take your garlic ;)

    Figs, yes, that’s a fairly popular in Philly too…funny thing is, here in southern Italy, dropping the last vowel, especially in food words, is pretty widespread too so I’m guessing that’s where a lot of said Italian-Americans get it from ;)

    Rebecca, this makes me sad indeed. Very very sad. I’ll enjoy enough for you the next time I eat bruschetta, I promise :)

  29. Figs Olives Wine
    07.13.2007

    That’s so interesting! I will feel much more relaxed about the whole thing now. I knew I should ask you about that!

  30. sognatrice
    07.13.2007

    Figs, glad I could ease your troubled mind…still though, the NY and Philly accents make those words sound kind of ugly whereas here they at least remain a little poetic ;)

  31. 08.23.2008

    I had bruschetta for lunch today with tomatoes from my garden and a little proscuitto. Delicious!

    Susan’s last blog post..My Favorite Meal

    Sounds great to me Susan :)

Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time.

 
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