What exactly is Bruschetta? It's simply toasted bread that has been rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil, then sprinkled with a little sea salt and pepper. A super simple and easy appetizer, though it started as a way to test the freshly pressed Olive oil. Simply roasting bread over the coals, rubbing with garlic and drizzled with freshly pressed oil to check the quality.
The nice thing is, that you can add all sorts of toppings to it, but those are the proverbial "icing on the cake". The most common topping I see is a heaping pile of chopped tomatoes, onions, basil and more olive oil... which smells divine and looks even better, however being cursed with an intolerance for fresh tomatoes, I am forever denied this mini salad on toast. And I definitely must avoid the jars labeled "Bruschetta" on the grocery store shelf.
It always cracks me up when I see those mixes of tomatoes, onions an herbs marketed as bruschetta in a jar. Periodically, just to be weird, I will pick one up and examine it closely, then exclaim fairly loudly, making sure everyone in the aisle can hear, "I don't see any toast in this jar!!" I think this might be why I had to leave Southern California; I was frightening the natives.
Anyway, socially alienating personality quirks aside, in order for me to achieve Bruschetta Nirvana, it became necessary for me to devised another form of "Bruschetta Icing" as it were. A little Fire Roasted Red Pepper, a few olives and I had myself a nice rustic tapenade (minus the Anchovy) which seems to work well for me... Heck, you can even add a little Chevre if you like.
Bruschetta with Rustic Tapenade
a couple cloves of Garlic
Extra Virgin Olive oil (you are gonna want the good stuff for this one)
1/2 cup Manzanilla Green Olives
1/2 cup Kalamata Olives
1/2 cup Diced Fire Roasted Peppers
More Extra Virgin Olive oil
optional - Chrevre
Slice your baguette at an angle (this gives you more surface area on a slice) about 3/4 inch thick.
Lay the sliced out on a rack, set in a jelly roll pan.
Place in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until "toasted"
Chop the Fire Roasted Peppers and olives.
Place everything in a small bowl, and drizzle with olive oil, tossing to coat.
Remove the "soon-to-be-Bruschetta" from the oven and rub each piece with garlic (I used a whole head with the top cut off, cause I was in a hurry and it's a heck of a lot faster)
Drizzle Extra Virgin olive oil all over the slices then season with Sea Salt and Black Pepper.
Now anoint each Bruschetta with a spoonful of the olive mixture and drizzle with a little more olive oil.
If you like, add a few crumbles of Chevre, then return to the oven for 5 minutes.
Just until the cheese becomes a little soft.
Then serve... Yeah, I put WAY too many on the plate... But I was hungry so I wasn't thinking... LOL