“Bruschetta (pronounced ‘broosketta ’) is from the Italian “Bruscare” which means to roast over coals.  In its most basic form, as delicious as any other – it’s simply Italian bread rubbed with garlic and grilled.  As with most things in cooking, the raw materials are the key.  If you don’t have the time or inclination to break your own bread, make sure you get the most authentic available. Toasting a store-bought ‘Super Loaf’ even if it’s labeled Italian, just is not the same!

The difference between Bruschetta and Crostini (“Little Toasts”) is that Bruschetta is sliced thicker and cooked on a grill while Crostini is thinner and usually baked in the oven.

Life at anchor can be very social and often includes “Happy Hour” on one or another of the boats. Each boater whips up an appetizer, from ingredients aboard their boats to share with the other boaters.  I often serve Bruschetta because the ingredients are almost always available in my pantry. It’s fun to serve all three of these small toasts together, each representing a color in the Italian flag. 

Cut an Italian loaf of rustic bread in ½-inch slices.  Place the slices on a hot coal or gas grill and cook until golden, turning once.  Remove from the grill and rub lightly with a garlic clove.  Drizzle with olive oil.

If you tire of olive oil and garlic – is that possible? – top your bruschetta with one of the following, finishing with another drizzle of olive oil:

Cannellini Bean
2 oz. pancetta, diced
1 cup cooked cannellini beans (canned beans are fine but be sure to rinse them)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
2 cloves garlic¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

Sauté the pancetta in a small skillet until cooked through, but not crispy.  Combine the pancetta, beans, sage, garlic and olive in a food processor.  Pulse until the beans are creamy.  Season with salt and pepper.

2 cups fresh basil
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
¼ teaspoon salt

Put the basil, garlic, olive oil and pine nuts in a food processor and process until smooth.  Pour the mixture into a bowl and stir in the cheese.  Season with salt.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
1 basket cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
3 garlic cloves, peeled & cut in half
Olive oil

Place the cherry tomatoes, thyme and garlic on a cookie sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake at 250°F for about 2 hours.  Let the tomatoes cool at room temperature.  Combine the tomatoes with additional olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

John’s Wine Selection:
For my taste, the various toppings, tomato, bean and pesto, require a dry, not too intense wine.  My first choice would be a Proseco, a light sparkling wine from Italy.  A fresh, crisp Sauvignon Blanc would work as well.