We know! We know! You are all saying to yourselves, “…but bruschetta is Italian, not Greek!” You may be right, but given that our parents make this appetizer, and they are Greek, we figure that this qualifies as a Greek recipe. Besides, isn’t it true that Italians and Greeks have more commonalities between them than they do differences? So, grab some garden fresh tomatoes, some lovely bread and a few other delicious ingredients and make yourself some Greek-Italian bruschetta! Kali orexi…and Buon appetito!
Anyone who follows our blog closely will have noticed that butter is not an ingredient which is commonly used in our parents’ cooking; they try to find alternatives and usually do so with great success (like the butter-less béchamel for their moussaka and pastitsio). Often, bruschetta will be made with a thin layer of garlic butter between the crostini and the topping. Instead of using butter however, our parents slow roast an entire head of garlic, mix it with some olive oil (of course), and use that as a spread for the toasted bread. If you have never had slow roasted garlic, you are in for a treat! It is sweet, delicious, rich in flavour and super easy to make.
Fresh ingredients are key here, particularly when it comes to the tomatoes. Garden tomatoes are preferable, but if you can find local, vine-ripened tomatoes at your grocers…that’s great too. Try and remove as much of the seed as you can, this will keep your bruschetta from being too watery.
We usually make the crostini using a fresh French baguette. Slice the bread thinly and toast it in the oven until it is crisp, but not hard. You will have to turn it over mid-way through the cooking process. If you want to plan ahead, you can make your crostini a day or two before. Toast as directed in the recipe, then allow the bread to cool completely before storing it in a plastic or paper bag. If you do not allow the bread to cool completely and you enclose it in a bag while still warm, your crostini will lose some of their crispness.
If you’re looking for some more summer appetizers, check these out:
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For the garlic spread:
- 1 whole head of garlic
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
For the tomato mixture:
- 1 cup diced tomato, seeds removed
- 3 tbsp finely chopped red onion
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit
- Peel the outer, loose, skin off of the head of garlic. Cut approximately 1 centimeter off the top of the garlic head, or enough so that you see the top of each garlic clove. Place it in a large piece of aluminum foil, or parchment paper. Sprinkle the garlic with a bit of water. Enclose the garlic well in the aluminum foil or parchment paper (you don’t want steam to escape). Bake the garlic for between 45 to 60 minutes, until the garlic is soft to the touch.
- When the garlic is ready, allow it to cool enough so that you can handle it. When it is roasted enough you will be able to hold the garlic head, cut side down, over a bowl and squeeze all of the garlic out.
- To the garlic add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and mash well with a fork. Set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl combine the diced tomato, red onion, fresh basil, dried basil, oregano, 1 tablespoon olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Mix well together and allow to sit so that the flavours meld for about 15 minutes at room temperature.1 cup diced tomato, seeds removed, 3 tbsp finely chopped red onion, 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil, 1/4 teaspoon dried basil, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, ground black pepper to taste
- Slice your baguette into pieces approximately 1/2 inch thick. Broil until they are slightly crispy, turning after a minute or so.
- Spread some of the garlic paste onto one side of each toasted baguette. Top with the tomato mixture.