With only a few ingredients, bruschetta is one of the most finger-friendly, flavorful appetizers you can prepare for your next dinner party. This Italian favorite traditionally consists of grilled or toasted crusty bread topped with a diced tomato mixture, with some recipes including mozzarella. As simple as bruschetta is to put together, it takes time to prepare all of the ingredients, including toasting the bread and dicing the tomatoes and mozzarella. You can save time by preparing the bruschetta ingredients the day before you serve them. Once prepped, it will only take a few minutes to put this tasty appetizer together.
The Right Kind of Bread
For bruschetta you need a really crusty bread such as an Italian loaf or French baguette. The baguette shape is perfect for bite-sized bruschetta. Slice the bread into 1/2-inch thick slices. You can also ask the bakery to slice it for you. Most grocery store bakeries will do it for you for free. Lay the sliced bruschetta slices on a baking sheet in a single layer and brush one side of the bread with olive oil or melted butter. You can also mix crushed garlic in the oil or butter before spreading it on the bread. Toast the bread slices in the oven under the broiler set to high for one to two minutes, until they're golden brown. You can slice and toast the bread up to 24 hours, as long as you store it in an airtight container. The bread will remain crispy as long as it is stored properly.
Prepping the Toppings
Tomatoes are the most common topping for bruschetta. You can either seed and dice fresh cherry or plum tomatoes, or you can dice up canned whole tomatoes. Place them in a nonreactive mixing bowl and add a drizzle of olive oil, mashed garlic and salt and pepper to taste. You can also add a drizzle of Italian dressing for more flavor. If you are including mozzarella, use fresh mozzarella and slice it as thinly as possible. Using a very sharp serrated knife or an egg slicer can help you get clean, thin slices. They should be small enough to fit on each piece of toast, so cut the mozzarella down to size if necessary.
Storing Ahead of Time
Store the prepared ingredients properly so that all you have to do is quickly assemble and serve them the next day. Once your toasted bread slices have cooled, place them in an airtight container and store at room temperature. Store the mozzarella in the refrigerator in an airtight container. The tomato mixture should also be stored in the same way in the refrigerator. However, avoid storing it in any reactive metal containers. The acidity in tomatoes causes a chemical reaction when in contact with reactive metals, picking up a metallic taste. Your bruschetta ingredients can be prepared and stored up to 24 hours in advance.
Assembling the Bruschetta
When you are ready to prepare the bruschetta for serving, spread the toasted bread out on a serving platter. Place a slice of bruschetta on each toast, then spoon a generous amount of the tomato mixture onto each slice of mozzarella. At this point you can sprinkle fresh Italian spices on top, such as fresh chopped basil or rosemary. Plan for the bruschetta to be the last thing you prepare for a dinner party or gathering to ensure the bread stays crunchy as long as possible. The moisture from the tomatoes and mozzarella will make start to make the bread soggy over time.
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