Bruschetta “pronounced bru’sketta” is a wonderful antipasto (starter dish) from Italy. Grilled bread is rubbed with garlic, drizzled with olive oil and topped with a variety of toppings that range from humble to luxurious: tomatoes, herbs, cheeses, flaked meat, marinated vegetables, it is really up to your taste and imagination. The only rule is, use something fresh, in season and have fun!

Since I often write about Arabic and middle eastern recipes and try to explain the link between the name and the actual recipe, I have developed the habit of looking up word roots! The noun bruschetta comes from the Roman dialect verb bruscare, meaning ‘to roast over coals’. It is believed that the dish probably originated in ancient Rome, when olive growers bringing their olives to the local olive press would toast slices of bread to sample their fresh-pressed oil.

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The most popular form of bruschetta uses a topping of tomatoes, basil and occasionally mozzarella cheese and though this is a heavenly combination, in my book the ultimate tomato-herb combo is tomato, mint and a touch of lemon juice.

As a kid this was THE salad on my mum’s Ramadan table. Fresh juicy tomatoes, loads of fresh fragrant mint, lemon juice, a dash of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. It does not get any simpler than that but try scooping some with a piece of warm pita bread ,the flavors are mind blowing.

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