Bruschetta is the epitome of cucina rustica. It can be found all over Italy although in Tuscany it takes the name of fett’unta. In its simplest form bruschetta is the original garlic bread, grilled, rubbed with garlic, drizzled with OO and sprinkled with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Try it—you will never go back to that baked, butter garlic soggy stuff again! In and of itself it can serve as the base for an endless number of toppings.

N.B. Please note that bruschetta is pronounced as “brusketta”… “ch” is pronounced as a hard “k” as in Chianti!

To prepare the bread for bruschetta:

The bread should be firm texture with a crusty exterior. Cut into 1/2 inch thick slices. Toast or grill until light golden brown in color, with a soft interior. When properly grilled, rub the surface with a peeled garlic clove and drizzle with OO. Sprinkle with sea salt and a few grindings of black pepper.

Here’s some of my favorite summer topping ideas:

Bruschetta con salsa cruda
coarsely chopped fresh tomatoes, OO, S & P, torn basil, garlic
Bruschetta con pomodoro e cipolla
sliced tomatoes, slivers of onion, capers, oregano or basil
Bruschetta con rucola e pancetta affumicata
tomatoes, rendered crisp bacon pieces, arugola, slivers of garlic
Bruschetta con alicine e prezzemolo
chopped tomatoes, parsley, crushed hot red pepper, anchovies
Bruschetta con acciuge e peperoni
spread toast with anchovy paste diluted with OO, top with slivers of roasted peppers, red, yellow and green and a few capers
Bruschetta ‘ncapriata
puree of white cannellini beans cooked with garlic, rosemary and OO
Bruschetta al salmone affumicato
smoked salmon, onion slivers, capers, drizzled with OO and black olive puree
Bruschetta con Fontina
no garlic, slices of Fontina cheese drizzled with herb honey—broil
Bruschetta di ficchi
thin slices of salami or prosciutto topped with mashed figs and honey