Bruschetta – The Perfect Dinner Party Starter

Because it can be prepared well in advance of any dinner party that you are going to hold, bruschetta with a basil garnish is one of the tastiest starters you can put together for guests. A favourite of many a pizza restaurant, bruschetta is an Italian dish served on bread, much like a miniature vegetarian pizza. It is possible to make them for a formal dining event where your guests will sit down or, alternatively, as a canapé which you can serve as finger food. This makes bruschetta a very versatile choice. Not only will it go well with a pasta dish that follows it, but it will also be ideal if you go on to serve a fish or meat course. What's more, it is incredibly simple to create. 

Bruschetta Base

To make a bruschetta base, you will need a baguette of French bread or, if it is possible to obtain it, some genuine Italian bread, such as focaccia. Firstly, cut the bread into small slices at an angle so that there is plenty of crust on each slice. Sprinkle a little olive oil onto each of the slices and then brush it over evenly. Place the greased bread under your grill for a short time. You do not want to toast the bread fully, but you do want to make sure that it has some crunch when bitten into. Keep your eye on it and remove it just as the crusts start to turn golden in colour.

Bruschetta Topping

Now it's time to prepare the bruschetta's topping. For this, you will need a can of chopped plum tomatoes, some cloves of garlic and balsamic vinegar. Fresh tomatoes, if fully ripe, will do but canned ones are perfect for bruschetta toppings.

Firstly chop the garlic extremely thinly or use a garlic crusher to press it. Place the garlic into a mixing bowl along with the tomatoes and a teaspoon or two of extra-virgin olive oil. Match the oil with the same quantity of balsamic vinegar. Mix the ingredients thoroughly together.

After this, you will need to add basil leaves. Freeze dried basil is okay, but it is better to use fresh basil if you can get it. Finely chop your basil and add it to the topping mixture. The red of the tomatoes should now be tinged with the green of the basil throughout, but exactly how much you add is down to personal taste. Lastly, add a pinch or two of salt and pepper.

Serving Your Bruschetta

Spoon a little of your topping mixture out onto each slice of the bread you prepared earlier with the toasted side up. Place one or two on a plate for each guest and add an extra few leaves of unchopped basil on the side as an attractive garnish.