Bruschetta is a beautiful summer appetizer that really allows you to showcase juicy, aromatic fresh tomatoes. It’s a simple combination of tomatoes, onion, garlic, fresh basil, and olive oil over toasted bread slices flavored with olive oil, garlic, and salt. This bruschetta recipe will be perfect for all you summer gatherings!
Best Bruschetta Recipe
Just like with all other simple recipes with very few ingredients, the beauty of this bruschetta is in the details. Attention to little details and choosing the best ingredients will provide you with truly the best bruschetta recipe! There are a few little things that I do to ensure the finest results.
It may seem obvious, but you’ll want to start with the best tomatoes and treat them well. As the tomatoes are the key component to bruschetta, you want to make sure they are ripe, bursting with vibrant color, plump but not too soft, and lots of rich tomato flavor.
For the best results, use the freshest basil and garlic, and choose a great quality olive oil for the best flavors. I also put in a little extra effort into the crusty bread and try to get extra flavor on it. It always pays off to take the time to rub each slice of bread with garlic on each side, brush each side with olive oil, and sprinkle with some coarse salt.
If you take your time with tomatoes, bread slices, and choose good ingredients, your bruschetta will be the best!
What is Bruschetta?
Bruschetta is pronounced bru-ske-tta. It’s a classic Italian antipasto (appetizer/first course) that’s made with toasted or grilled slices of bread and topped with a combination of fresh tomatoes, basil, and olive oil.
There are several variations that can be found throughout different regions of Italy. Some variations involving white beans, oregano, mozzarella cheese, and other vegetable combinations.
For the crunchy bread, you’ll need:
- Bread – for bruschetta, you’ll want to use a French baguette or rustic Italian bread. If the bread is day old, it will be even more perfect. With bruschetta, you need a beautiful crunchy, toasted bread brushed with olive oil, garlic, and salt.
- Olive Oil – To make the most out of this ingredient, choose a rich extra virgin olive oil that will enhance the flavors.
- Garlic – It’s important to use freshly minced garlic here, not pre-minced garlic. Remember, when it comes to bruschetta, the fresher the better.
- Salt – A touch of coarse sea salt or coarse kosher salt is perfect for enhancing the other ingredients.
The fresh tomato topping calls for:
- Tomatoes – Choose fresh and ripe roma tomatoes, tomatoes on a vine, heirloom, or even cherry tomatoes. You want to showcase the star of the show here, so really make sure the tomatoes are perfectly ripe.
- Red Onion – Red onions are potent and slightly sweet. You can use Vidalia if red onion is not available.
- Basil – It’s crucial to use fresh, not dried basil! The aromatic experience of fresh basil is so very pleasant when enjoying this appetizer.
- Olive Oil
How to Make Bruschetta
Start off by peeling the tomatoes, if you wish. This step is optional, however, as many prefer to leave the tomato skin in place.
Once the tomatoes are prepared according to your preferences, salt the tomatoes and allow them to sit while you prepare the bread.
Preparing the crunchy bread is really quite easy! Start by simply slicing the bread into thin slices and pressing a garlic clove into the olive oil. Mix oil and garlic very well.
Next, brush each slice of bread with olive oil on both sides. Place the bread slices onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle some coarse salt over the bread and bake for 6-8 minutes, until golden brown. Allow the bread to cool before topping.
To create the tomato topping, combine the diced tomatoes in a mixing bowl with minced basil, pressed garlic, and diced red onion. Stir in the olive oil and more salt, if you’d like. Then, assemble the bruschetta by placing the tomato topping atop each slice of crunchy bread.
Tips for Making the Best Bruschetta
- Use the best and freshest ingredients possible!
- Taking tomato skins off is optional. It does make the topping texturally more pleasant, but if you don’t want to hassle, you can skip that step and leave the skins on.
- Salt tomatoes and set them in a colander for 20-30 minutes to draw out some excess juices.
- Take your time with the bread. You want it to be garlicky and brushed with oil on both sides. Place the slices on a thin metal baking sheet without covering it and you won’t need to flip the bread half way through.
- If you love balsamic vinegar, make a reduction and drizzle some on top of the finished bruschetta.
Can I make it ahead of time?
Yes you can! You can make the bread and leave it on the counter, uncovered for several hours or up to a day. If you need to crisp them back up, just pop them in the oven for a couple of minutes at 425°F.
You can make the topping ahead of time just as easily and store it in the refrigerator, in an air-tight food storage container. Tomato topping can be make up to 2 days in advance. Just note that there will be excess liquid, you can strain it off or just scoop out tomatoes with a slotted spoon.
More Summer Appetizers!
Prosciutto and Melon – a fun and easy classic Italian appetizer that’s perfect for the summer.
Pineapple Salsa – this salsa has sweet pineapple and bell peppers, spicy jalapenos, fresh cilantro and lime juice, and more.
Mexican Street Corn Salad – made with grilled corn, grilled poblano peppers, queso fresco, fresh herbs, and more.
Mango Salsa – juicy, sweet mangoes, spicy jalapeno peppers, red onion, lime juice, a little honey, cayenne, and cilantro make this tropical salsa a staple in summer cooking.
- 6-8 oz French baguette or Italian loaf
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- coarse sea salt or coarse kosher salt
- 1.25 lbs vine tomatoes or Roma tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 small red onion
- 1/4 cup fresh minced basil
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- coarse sea salt or coarse kosher salt
Peel tomatoes (optional):
- Heat up a large pot of water and prepare a bowl with iced water. Bring the water to boil and set iced water bowl close to the stove.
- Slice a small x across the bottom of each tomato (not the part that attaches to the vine).
- Working in batches of 3 or 4 tomatoes, add them to the boiling water for 25-30 seconds. You will see the skin starting to peel off where it's sliced.
- Use a slotted spoon to take tomato out of the pot and into the ice bath. Once cooled after a few seconds, take them out onto the cutting board and peel the skin off with your hands. It should come off nice and easy.
- Dice tomatoes into small pieces.
- Cut cherry tomatoes in half and cut other tomatoes into about 1/2 inch chunks. Place tomatoes into a strainer and place the strainer inside a wide bowl to catch the juices. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt, mix, and let them stand while you prepare the bread.
- Preheat the oven to 425°. Don't line or grease a thin rimmed baking sheet.
- Slice baguette into thin slices and press a garlic clove into the olive oil. Mix oil and garlic very well.
- Brush each slice of bread with olive oil on both sides. Place the bread slices onto the rimmed baking sheet in one layer. Sprinkle some coarse salt over the bread and bake for 6-8 minutes, until golden brown.
- Take the bread out of the oven and cool on a wire rack.
- Discard accumulated tomato juices or save it to make tomato vinaigrette.
- Combine diced tomatoes in a mixing bowl with minced basil, pressed garlic, and diced red onion. Stir in olive oil and taste to see if you need to add more salt.
- Top off each bread slice with some tomato topping and serve right away.