When it comes to making appetizers, I can say that the Italians are one of the best, if not the best in the world. From mozzarella sticks to beetroot risotto to bruschetta, the Italians are very good in stimulating our appetites.
Bruschetta happens to be one of my favorite appetizers. I mean, how can you say no to slices of lightly toasted bread with a hint of garlic, drizzled with olive oil and topped with basil and tomatoes, among other toppings?
Did you know that bruschetta has a long, checkered history? According to Italian food authority Marcella Hazan, bruschetta’s origins can be traced all the way back to the ancient Romans, particularly the Estruscans.
The name bruschetta comes from the Roman word bruscare or ‘roasted over coals.’ The ingredients used in today’s recipes were widely available back in the old days, so it is not a stretch of the imagination to say that the ancient Romans prepared and enjoyed their own version of bruschetta.
While we consider bruschetta as an appetizer, it wasn’t the case back in the days. It was considered a hearty meal for laborers and farmers.
As in the case of most Italian foods, bruschetta is not only delicious but also very nutritious. If prepared the right way, it's a far better choice than other appetizers like fried calamari or cheese dips.
Let’s look at the base ingredient first—Italian bread. A slice of this bread has more than 2.5 grams pound of protein and 0.83 milligram of iron that is more than 10 percent of an average man's daily requirement.
You will also get small amounts of calcium, niacin and zinc from Italian bread. I suggest you use whole wheat loaf if you are conscious about your calorie intake.
Another key ingredient of this food is olive oil. It is rich in unsaturated fats which is good for our hearts as it can reduce cholesterol levels and lower risks of heart disease.
Bruschetta also contains fresh tomato chunks. Tomatoes are excellent sources of vitamins A and C. It also has small amounts of fiber and folate.
Of course, I can't discuss Bruschetta ingredients without mentioning garlic. I can't even imagine Italian bread flavored with it.
Garlic may have to be one of the most nutritious herbs. It can give your immune system a boost. In particular, it increases our body's supply of hydrogen sulfide that can protect against breast cancer and colon cancer. It can also lower risks of heart disease.
Ease of Preparation
Another reason why I love Bruschetta is the ease of preparing it. There's no need to fry at all. Once you have gathered the ingredients, it would only take a few minutes for you to serve the bread.
In fact, the recipe I’m sharing with you would only take 10 minutes of preparation and another 10 minutes of cooking. So in less than 30 minutes, you can have your fill of mouthwatering Bruschetta.
This recipe can make up to 18 slices, or good enough for 4-5 individuals.
- Four red peppers
- A cup of Athenos traditional Feta cheese, crumbled
- Quarter cup of chopped green onions
- One clove of garlic, minced
- Quarter cup of olive oil
- One teaspoon of lemon juice
- One loaf of French bread cut into slices
Step by step guide
- Let’s start by preheating the oven to around 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wash the red peppers. Cut them into half, lengthwise. With a paring knife, cut off the stem and get rid of the seeds and membrane.
- Get a rimmed baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Then place the peppers with its cut side down on it.
- Roast the peppers for about 15 minutes or until these have become charred. You would also want the skin to be wrinkled. You could also rotate the sheet if needed so that the peppers will be cooked evenly.
- Allow the peppers to cool. When cool enough for you to handle them, peel off the skin. Discard it then cut the peppers into smaller pieces.
- Combine the peppers with onions, garlic, lemon juice and just a tablespoon of the oil. Set it aside.
- Get the bread slices and brush them with the remaining olive oil. Put these into the baking sheet.
- Broil each side for 2-3 minutes or until lightly toasted. Top the slices with Feta cheese or even Mozzarella cheese and add about a teaspoon of the pepper mixture.
This Bruschetta is a bit spicy due to the use of the peppers. But it should stimulate your appetite, enough to make you look forward to the next dish which could be pasta, pizza, or any other Italian favorite.
What do you think of this recipe? Let me know your thoughts by writing on the comments section. Don’t forget to share this recipe, too, on your Facebook and Twitter accounts.