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What ingredients do you need, and what steps to perform to make Bruschetta?

While on honeymoon in Tuscany we got bruschetta with chopped tomato and herb topping, on crusty bread (I think there was some olive oil on the bread?)

Is there a trick to making the tomatoes succulent, or is it simply down to good ingredients?

Thanks :)

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4 Answers 4

up vote 15 down vote accepted

There's just no comparison between in-season, local tomatoes that you get in Italy and the supermarket crap you get anywhere else, which probably accounts for most of the difference.

Your best bet is to look for heirloom tomatoes, in season. Failing that, try New Jersey beefsteak tomatoes, again, in season. Or any of the "vine ripened" tomatoes you see in fancy grocery stores, although every year those get harder and more tasteless. Finally, if desperate, and you have no choice but to use supermarket rock tomatoes, at least get plum tomatoes, which manage to retain a tiny bit of flavor.

Bruschetta is just:

  1. yesterday's bread (ciabatta or a French baguette), thinly sliced, brushed with olive oil, and grilled or toasted
  2. chopped tomatoes
  3. garlic, basil, Italian parsley, and any other tasty herbs you have lying around (Oregano?)
  4. The finest extra virgin olive oil in the house
  5. Salt and pepper to taste
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Ciabatta would be a more authentic component, failing that, lightly toasted French baguette. –  Pulse Jul 13 '10 at 1:37
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So you cook too, is there anything you don't do well ya bad hoor? Thanks for this, I reckon I may have trouble finding "New Jersey" tomatos here in Dublin (the original, Irish one), but I'm sure I'll find a substitute :) Thanks again –  Binary Worrier Jul 13 '10 at 12:20
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tips#1: for a lighter experience :), garlic should be just rubbed on the bread. tips#2: here in Italy we tipically use rustic homemade bread without salt (Tuscany/Puglia). –  systempuntoout Aug 3 '10 at 10:49
    
Add grated Parmesan cheese on top and broil until melted! –  iHeartGreek Aug 3 '10 at 19:43
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Australian cheddar or some other aged cheese adds another dimension to the bruschetta as well. –  Michael Todd Aug 22 '10 at 3:37
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This is basically down to buying good ingredients. Mass produced tomatoes can be a bit dry so try and source organic ingredients that haven't been force grown in these factory sized poly-tunnels.

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+1: It's ingredients 100%. If you use top quality olive oil, good balsamic, good basil, good tomatoes, and good bread...You can't really go wrong. –  Satanicpuppy Jul 12 '10 at 19:27
    
Ta :), suppose I find some excellent tomatoes, what then? –  Binary Worrier Jul 12 '10 at 20:12
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Make sure you remove the seeds from your tomatoes. This is especially important for making bruschetta since it will have too much tomatoe juice in it if you don't follow this procedure:

  1. Cut the tomatoe in half.
  2. Hold the with the cut side down and squeeze.
  3. With a blunt knife scrape all the seeds off.

Make sure you squeeze all the juices out and get all the seeds out.

Other than the de-seeded fresh tomatoes you should add:

  1. Fresh minced garlic
  2. Fresh minced basil
  3. Olive oil
  4. Salt and pepper

Some recipes call for balsamic vinegar as well.

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Sounds good, I shall expirament :) –  Binary Worrier Jul 12 '10 at 21:42
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I see why you want to reduce the liquid, but you do lose some flavour - Heston Blumenthal and others have found that the internal liquid where the seeds are is the tastiest bit of the tomato. –  PaulS Jul 14 '10 at 12:10
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It probably depends on the type of tomato you're using and what kind of flavor you are looking for. The internal liquid can be very tangy. –  Bryant Jul 14 '10 at 15:38
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One method I like to make tomatoes more succulent is, after chopping them up, place them in a pasta strainer and toss with some salt. The salt will not only bring out the flavor, put also osmotify out the water and concentrate the flavor in the remaining tomato chunks.

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