TIME: About 20 minutes
Grilled bread, doused with olive oil, scented with raw garlic, finished with coarse salt—what can be better than bruschetta (or crostini)? Add toppings and you have a classic starter. Use thick slices of Italian-style bread—or one of the home-baked European-style breads on pages
856 to 859—so that the outside gets crunchy while the inside stays moist.
8 thick slices rustic bread
Extra virgin olive oil as needed
1 to 4 cloves garlic, halved or crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-Heat a gas or charcoal grill or a broiler to mediumhigh heat and put the rack about 4 inches from the heat
source. Brush both sides of the bread lightly with oil, then grill or broil until lightly browned on both sides.
2- Rub one or both sides of the bread with garlic. Put the bread on a plate, then drizzle it with olive oil (a tablespoon or so per slice is not too much); sprinkle with salt and, if you like, pepper. Serve warm.
Crostini. Until recently, these Italian-style croutons were known in America as “toast points”: Cut the bread
into thinner, smaller slices so you have 16 to 24. Brush them with oil and crisp them on a grill, under
a broiler, or in a 400°F oven until golden on all sides. Rub them with garlic if you like and top them in any
of the ways that follow.
Bruschetta or Crostini with Parmesan. For the broiler instead of the grill, this offers lots of bang for the buck: Omit the garlic, drizzle the bread with oil, and then sprinkle it with grated Parmesan; run under the broiler until the Parmesan just melts and serve immediately.
Bruschetta or Crostini with Tomatoes and Basil. With good tomatoes, there’s nothing better: Core about a pound of ripe tomatoes, squeeze most of the seeds out, and coarsely chop them. If you have time, put them in a strainer for a few minutes to drain the excess water. When the bread is ready to cook, toss
the tomatoes, about a cup of torn basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt together in a
bowl. Top the bread with the mixture after rubbing the garlic on the bread in Step 2, sprinkle with pepper, and serve.