The Best Method For Making Bruschetta

Despite my best intentions, my garlic bread recipe is clearly not the last in my Italian feast line. What can I say? Maybe it’s because I’ve got an Italian brother-in-law; maybe it’s because I love tomatoes and I love carbs; maybe it’s just that it’s been in the forefront of my mind since I started the whole Italian thing a couple of weeks ago. Whatever the reason, I’ve been craving fresh, delicious Italian flavors recently.

And bruschetta! How I love really good bruschetta. First, there’s the simplicity of it: tomatoes, basil, garlic, bread. Simple, fresh ingredients; simple, fresh taste. And then there’s how incredibly easy it is to make. And what a great mini-meal it makes. I could go on; there seems like there are a million reasons to love bruschetta.

But I’ve always been caught when people ask what the best method for making bruschetta is. There’s a lot of disagreement about how to incorporate the garlic: the traditional Italian method involves rubbing the garlic onto the bread; Americans tend to chop the garlic and add it into the tomato mixture; and I have a Greek friend who used to infuse the garlic into the olive oil before spreading the olive oil onto the bread.

I’ve tried all three ways at different times, but never all at once. And because memory isn’t always accurate, I was never sure which method yielded the best tasting bruschetta. So, in the name of science, I decided to perform an experiment. I made a batch of bruschetta, separated it into three parts, and tried out the various methods. For the American version, I minced the garlic and added it into the tomato mixture before letting the ingredients sit. (No matter what method you use, it’s crucial to let the ingredients sit for at least 20 minutes so the flavors can combine.) For the Italian version, I left the garlic out of the tomatoes; instead, when I got ready to toast the bread, I brushed it with olive oil and then rubbed a sliced clove of garlic over it. For the “Greek” version (I’ve no idea if this is actually Greek or not, but since I got it from a Greek boy…), I minced garlic and stirred it into olive oil. I let the garlic olive oil sit alongside the tomato mixture so that it was full infused. When the time came to toast the bread, I spread the garlic and olive oil on the bread.

The results? I liked the Greek version best. In the Italian version, I couldn’t really taste the garlic, and in the American version, I found the taste of raw garlic a little too much. But, like baby bear’s porridge, the Greek version was just right.

How do you usually make bruschetta?

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