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Bruschetta thread: Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication! Crostino thread too!

What is better than something good? Something cheap, simple, fast and still good!
Do you prefer elaborated things? There's room for this too!
Let's start with the difference between bruschetta and crostino.
  • Short answer: i don't know and it's not vital
  • Long answer: someone says when you put cheese above bread, someone says crostino is thinner and crunchier all over, bruschetta not in the middle, bruschetta is larger and more raw, crostino is smaller and more elegant
    Since i'm not a food student but i like to eat i'd say that if it's good... It's good! 
    I've not a certified recipe and from now on i mainly refer to bruschetta.
So what do we talk here? Roasted bread with toppings!
Bruschetta is born as a poor men dish. I associate it to pizza because you similarly have a base and toppings. I consider pizza to be a nobler food and superior if done correctly, but bruschetta has its use and it's something different (and you don't have to learn the fine art of making dough).
Why is bruschetta interesting?
  • it's cheap and fast to do (seriously, if you have pepper purea and grilled sliced bread you don't need anything else. I hardly call it a recipe but... It works).
  • it's easy to do: if you haven't perfect ingredients or cooking... Something good still comes out!
  • imho it's the ultimate food for spreading sauces. I consider it superior to pizza for this purpose (i'm a purist of puree tomato in pizza). I consider it to be more free form than pizza.
  • Outstanding with various salami and hams before and after cooking (lard after cooking on an hot grilled bread is the most dangerous food ever... You can eat countless slices and don't notice that you are eating enough calories to run NY for 1 day!)
  • It's really good
  • It's different from pizza.
  • Wonderful with hot stuff of all kinds
About bread
  • There are many types, mainly i use “pane pugliese” or “ciabatta”. There are other specialized breads for bruschetta and they're good especially when you use cheese and many other toppings. I still prefer ciabatta in any case and pane pugliese for simpler recipes. For ciabatta i use the side effect of my grill that it press it, otherwise it's difficult to use. Another great thing is pane toscano (wich is without salt)  with lardo di Colonnata (one would say best lard in the world). And there are many other traditions i don't know.
  • Sandwich bread is surely good for this.
  • You can use special bread too (for example with minced olives or tomato).
  • Wich tickness? 1 cm is a good start, then experiment and see it yourself. ;) It's important that you don't have holes  otherwise toppings will fall (well, if you use only pepperoni as topping this is not true... If you don't have huge holes! For ciabatta i use a different approach: i cut in half in crust direction, it has too holes and press while precook. Result is amazing).
  • I use a double grill with 3 heat positions and with a grill position suitable for grilling bread and another suitable for cooking whithout touching top side, it's sometimes a little weak when cooking the more complex bruschettas with cheese but with some patience you got the right cooking and i'm satisfied with it.
  • I suppose you could use electrical oven too especially if you have to cook heay ingredients, i have no memories of when i tried.
  • Sometimes a friend of mine uses a pan to toast sliced bread and another uses microwave oven with crisp function.
  • A wood powered oven (like ones for pizza) should be really good...
  • Probably the best would be a grill with embers beneath (i believe this is the original equipment), but it's easy to burn bread, it's difficult to have (not everyone has a fireplace), and if you have heavy toppings i doubt you could cook it before burning the underneath side... But for a simple one it's awesome.
  • Use wathever you think can do and see if it works.
Some things to pay attention:
  • right amount of salt: too less and it seems dull, too much and it's unpleasant
  • cheese that casts out too much liquid (mozzarella for example): it's not good if bread is drenched with this and sometimes it doesn't dry properly. In pizza this is diffent and easier. I prefer a cheese with a stronger taste in bruschetta than in pizza). If you want use this cheese you can cut it hours before using and put it in a sloping cutting board.
  • Put the right amount of toppings: sometimes a lower amount than too much is tastier!
  • Better to have good ingredients... With simple recipes you notice ingredients quality
The basic bruschetta (or at least i call it so)
"Perfection is Achieved Not When There Is Nothing More to Add, But When There Is Nothing Left to Take Away"
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  • sliced bread (pugliese is perfect)
  • cloves of garlic
  • evo oil
  • tomato puree (also chopped fresh tomato is good, i prefer with puree)
  • salt if tomato puree hasn't (important to have the right amount!)
  • pepper powder or fresh pepper (mandatory for us hot heads!)
  • oregano (strongly suggested)
  • You toast sliced bread until is crunch and colored in the external. In the middle is better if it is a little soft, but it's not a tragedy if it isn't. Pay attention not to burn the bread (it's carcinogenic and has an awful taste). The external should have a rasp effect.
  • Then you rub clove a of garlic in the slice, you should consume it by rubbing (you can grind it finely too and put it later above tomato, but i prefer this way).
  • You spread the oil above (a teaspoon or a tablespoon is good, the more is better but anti healthier too). Imho if the oil has a physical direct contact with bread is way better. If you put it after puree tomato it's easier to spread, but not the same thing.
  • You spread tomato puee (or put sliced tomato).
  • Salt if needed.
  • Then pepper powder (and/or chopped pepper) and oregano.
  • Then eat it!!! 

One of the simplest bruschetta but imho the truest and probabily best form!
The only drawback is that you can eat 5 of this and don't notice that you have actually eaten something!
This is of course only a start (but an excellent one!). You can of course add heavier toppings of all kind... In general you have to toast the bread, a little less than one in the above recipe, then top it and cook again.
If you ask me rubbed garlic and oil are always welcome that i'd put in every bruschetta.
Another example:
  • garlic
  • oil
  • random hot sauce
  • tomato puree
  • smoked scamorza (cheese)
  • Napoli pepperoni
  • olive
  • anchovies
  • capers
  • vienna salami
  • as before, roast bread, then rub garlic, spread oil
  • spread hot sauce
  • spread tomato, salt if needed
  • put smoked scamorza, Napoli pepperoni, olives, capers, anchovies, vienna salami
  • cook until ready

Still quite classic but effective. In that case it's better a different bread (i still used pugliese because it was the one i had).
As said you can add various salami, hams, meat, fish, mushrooms, your best sauces, all cheese types (with care), egg, all kinds of vegetables and so on.
Or butter and jam... 
To summarize: stellar rank of (taste*ease*flexibility)/(money*time) ratio. 
Show your bruschetta!
Looks Great !
The most common here is the "Crostino" would have chopped fresh plum tomatoes, basil, garlic, evo, sea salt....it gets better from there. The usual is on a bias cut Baguette, slightly toasted with the garlic swipe.

I like the idea of the Bruschetta pureed tomatoes on the dense tight crumb thinly sliced bread. More room for toppings. I wish I could use the ciabatta that I make...but I purposely make a higher hydrated dough for the crusty yet airy/holey crumb...some of the toppings would fall through....lol
The tight French Baguette works better.

Essegi, thanks for sharing all these examples !

Thanks you too for the appreciation! The trick with ciabatta is to cut in half (not in slices as other bread) as if you were to cut it for a sandwitch like this one: 
so you have crust on bottom and soft on top. I saw this once in a restaurant it looked gorgeous. I tried at home and i was enthusiastic (ciabatta is maybe my fav bread). My grill here helps because it's a bit heavy so it press bread, which is a good side effect. Next time i use a ciabatta i'll post some pics.
Awesome thread Essegi!
I like ciabatta well enough but I think there is something to be said about using a light and airy focaccia drizzled with olive oil, sea salt, and fresh plum tomato. Anchovie optional. Just a little asiago or pecorino goes a long way too. And ain't no shame crumbling a little gorgonzola on it either. The beauty is there are no rules although...
"Perfection is Achieved Not When There Is Nothing More to Add, But When There Is Nothing Left to Take Away"
I don't think you could have said it any better than that.
Yeah, it could be difficult to spread this thing in a ciabatta (rub garlic too)...
When i put it in my grill to precook, bread it's pressed then it comes out compact and good for this purpose. It's not as airy as before, but still airy. The nice thing it's that it's crunchy and somewhat soft at the same time.
I've little experience without pressing it and probably it's better to use other bread in that case.
You said gorgonzola... Gorgonzola + speck is the ultimate combo.
PS: that phrase of course is a quote:D I've added author
PPS: i've added a very little explanation for ciabatta in 1st post.
Smoked raw ham tipycal of South Tyrol. Here wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speck_Alto_Adige_PGI
I think often you can find without PGI status, but it's still very good.
I like it a lot. It's more "tolerant" than raw ham. If i buy sliced raw ham i have to eat it in the same day, otherwise it changes too much, speck still is good after days. It's more difficult to find a bad speck than a bad raw ham. It's also more tolerant at high temperatures and to use for pasta sauces.
Anyway imho speck can't beat a good Parma or, maybe even better, San Daniele (2 of the best raw ham types)! :D
I love making this in the Summertime with fresh tomatoes, jalapenos, and basil from the garden.  I use Ciabatta sliced on the bias, rub with garlic, drizzle with olive oil sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper, then bake.  Sometimes, I even top with some fresh mozzarella before baking.  Then I top with the mix of diced tomatoes, sweet vidalia onion, jalapeno, torn basil, olive oil, more sea salt, cracked pepper, and garlic.
Yeah, fresh ingredients are very good here!
Anyway i did a ciabatta bruschetta; i'd wanted to do with gorgonzola and speck but i didn't have them. Another time i'll show one whith these ingrediennt.
Back to today bruschetta (sadly not for me!)
The big bread piece: 666g (no joke!):

Cut in half:

Cut in half again:

I took the right part (top part), worst scenario possible: big surface (so less pressure on grill), higher and less compact.
Here first part of cooking, i hand pressed in top grill side to flatten bread. Anyway grill is heavy itself and helps:

Here after precook:

You can easily rub garlic cloves: it's all i ask! :D
After cooking:

In cooking:


As i said my grill is a little weak on cooking toppings, maybe i should try oven for second part of cooking... Anyway not a bad result. ;)
Essegi, here in Texas we have a phrase for that bruschetta.
"Have mercy."
According to you, at least from what I gather, that is not your best bruschetta.
It's still better than anything I could post and it looks glorious.
I'll say it again.
Ah ha lol thanks! This could be best looking one i can do (i love all of ciabatta, taste, smell, look).
I still think my best bruschetta is indeed basic one (with chopped fresh pepper instead powder, ciabatta or pugliese are both good for that one). Really.
EDIT: oh now maybe i understand what do you mean that it seems i said this is not my best bruschetta. I said that this piece of bread was worst possible scenario. I meant this for pressing purpose because it was bent a little, airy, big (larger--> little pressure), definetly high. If you don't press it you won't rub garlic or spread oil and tomato. Anyway pressing it it doesn't matter, in the end it's irrelevant, it go in the right way. Just to show that ciabatta is usable for bruschetta. ;)
Essegi, what I meant was that you were being very modest. Lots of folks here are more than envious of your beautiful culinary fare.
I am.
You've got fans!
Thanks guys, there are many great things in that forum, many coming directly from you, so your appreciation is very satisfying.;)
I had bruschetta for dinner.
Main ingredients:

Prosciutto San Daniele and lard! Maybe the first hadn't dop denomination but it's still better than most of other raw hams, the second is not "Di Colonnata" but....

... I undestood that this was not a big problem! Best thing of the day!!! :party: Most dangerous food ever! :twisted:
I see a nose...

Garlic, lard instead oil, pepper cream, tomato, cheese, mushrooms and San Daniele after cook!

Verdict: FAIL! Garlic and lard doesn't go along so good... Pepper cream had a strong taste, covered San Daniele wich is a misdeed.
Not so bad to eat but far from use food potential.
Next an evil thing:

Evo oil, lard, chopped pig steak (remain from yesterday), mushrooms, cheese, San Daniele after cooking.
Better than above but not than lard or San Daniele alone (must say that i had to finish pugliese bread that is best for simpler recipe as i said). Not good for diet. :D
I had little doubts, it's the most anti pescetarian thing you can have! :D
Lots of people don't like lard, or tripes... I say that they are so good!
I was wondering to use some fish/seafood aside anchovies next time anyway...
Essegi said:
I bet this too! Looks good!
Take a trip down to Naples and grab a loaf.  :lol:
Do you have this in N. Italy?