Bruschetta

Bruschetta (broo-sheh-tah) is just Italian bread drenched in olive oil and served with garlic and tomatoes. It goes back to at least the 15th century when folks where looking for a way to salvage stale bread. What better method than to drizzle it with olive oil and and top it with whatever was at hand? Apart from garlic and tomatoes, toppings may include basil, beans, and vegetables. According to the sources, bruschetta comes from the old Roman word bruscare ("to roast over coals").

Some have compared bruschetta to plain garlic bread. But it's more than that. It's "garlic bread plus." Now that summer is here and decent tomatoes are again available, bruschetta is a natural. I must admit that during the winter I survive on canned Italian tomatoes. Those measly specimens wrapped in cellophane just plain suck. And if you have a garden and grow your own tomatoes, you're as close to heaven as you'll ever be.

Bruschetta is commonly served as an appetizer (as in antipasto). But I've discovered you can serve it with almost any dish. I prefer it with steamed chicken---don't know why, that's just my thing. And since summer means grilling season, it goes great with any barbecue.

In the version given below,  I've added black olives and roasted peppers plus Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, whatever suits your palette.

BRUSCHETTA

5 to 6 ripe tomatoes, cut into large triangles
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup black olives
1/2 tablespoon fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
Pecorino or Parmesan cheese to taste, grated or slivered
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 loaf Italian bread, cut at an angle into slices about 1/2-inch thick
1 clove garlic, cut in half
1 can or 7-ounce jar roasted pepper (pimentos), sliced for garnish.

  1.  Preheat oven  to 375 degrees.
  2.  Place tomatoes in a big bowl.
  3 . Add onion, olives and oregano
  4.  Sprinkle with Pecorino or Parmesan cheese.
  5.  Add olive oil and vinegar, and mix to blend.
  7.  Rub bread slices with garlic halves on both sides.
  8 . Place on a cookie sheet or baking pan in the oven and bake until slices are slightly browned or golden.
  9.  Arrange bread slices on a platter, and top with tomato mixture.
10. Top with pimento slices and garnish around edge of platter with same.
      Yield: 4-5 servings.
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