A bruschetta is a kind of open sandwich and it's probably where the idea for cheese on toast originally came from. It's normally made from a large loaf of sourdough natural yeast bread, which is a dark grey colour and has a higher water content than usual in the dough. It also has a thick crust and, because of this, moisture is retained in the bread, meaning it can be used up to a week after purchasing. Have a look round a farmers' market or in a good supermarket and you should be able to find some. If you can't, a good-quality round cottage-style loaf will give you good results.
is best sliced 1cm thick and toasted on a barbecue, but it can also be done in a griddle pan for ease at home. After that it should be lightly rubbed a couple of times with a cut clove of garlic, then drizzled with some good extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. The toppings can be as humble or as luxurious as you like, from chopped herbs or a squashed tomato with basil, to marinated vegetables or beautiful cheeses, to lovely flaked crabmeat. The only rule is that whatever goes on top of a bruschetta should be nice and fresh and cooked with care.
These are my favourite toppings. They will each cover 4 to 6 slices.
aubergine and mint bruschette
baby artichoke bruschette
tomato and basil bruschette
If you have a large loaf, cut it in half, then slice it crossways about 1cm/½ inch thick. Chargrill these slices on a barbecue or in a griddle pan until they are crisp on both sides, then lightly rub each piece a couple of times with a cut clove of garlic
. Drizzle with some good extra virgin olive oil
and sprinkle with a tiny pinch of salt
. You can eat the toasted bread just like this, but make sure the oil is the best you can find otherwise it will never taste good.