Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Ultimate Italian Snack (Appetizer)

When you want to nosh, what kind of appetizer or snack would you have? Basic home snacks could be anything from crackers with a topping, veggies and dip, even cookies or a cupcake. If you're out at a restaurant, you might see on the menu: cheese sticks, nachos, tequitos, deep fried veggies, chicken fingers. Been there, done that, lets have something very different, romantic(hey, it's Italian), yummy and it's healthy (I know, I know, bad word, especially around kids, but not this snack!) It's Bruschetta, and while it might be a little difficult to pronounce the first time; you won't forget after you've had it.

Bruschetta (Italian pronunciation: [brus-ket-a]; American pronunciation: [bu-shetta], ignoring the “c” altogether ) is an appetizer from central Italy whose origin seems to date back to the 15th century, but possibly even older than that. It was a way to use stale bread by toasting or grilling it, then enhancing the flavor by rubbing with garlic and topping with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Variations may include toppings of spicy red pepper, tomato, vegetables, beans, cured meat, and/or cheese; the most popular recipe outside of Italy involves basil, fresh tomato, garlic and onion or mozzarella. Brushchetta can be served as an appetizer, or simply enjoyed as a snack.

Bruschetta (Italian Style)


loaf of Italian bread, preferably day old, cut into ½” slices
2 cloves of garlic
olive oil


Grill both sides of the sliced bread; or place under a broiler for 1 minute, flip slices, place under broiler for another minute. Cut the cloves of garlic in half and rub cut sides over one side of bread; drizzle olive oil, sprinkle on salt.

Bruschetta Con Pomodori (Grilled Bread with Tomatoes)


half loaf of Italian bread, cut into ½ “slices
1 Tbsp minced garlic
4 Tbsp olive oil
6 Roma (plum) tomatoes cut into ¼” pieces
1/8 tsp each of salt and ground black pepper
¼ cup minced fresh basil leaves
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar


Grill both sides of the sliced bread; or place under a broiler for 1 minute, flip slices, place under broiler for another minute. Smear one side of each slice with minced garlic.

In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, tomatoes, salt, black pepper, basil and vinegar. Top garlic side of each slice of bread with mixture.

Makes 6 servings.

1 – Shaved parmesan cheese can be placed on top of mixture.

2 – Thin slices of mozzarella can be placed on top of mixture; place under broiler for a minute to allow cheese to melt.

Mary Cokenour
September 1997
This recipe was published in Taste of Home Magazine, September 2007 issue. I had sent it to them way back in 1997, and then suddenly they contacted me in 2007 to say that they were going to publish it. Imagine my surprise!

Crab Bruschetta


1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 cans (6 ounces each) lump crabmeat, drained
1 cup chopped seeded plum tomatoes
1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon minced fresh oregano or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
8 slices Italian bread (1/2 inch thick)

In a large skillet, saute shallots and garlic in 2 tablespoons oil until tender. Add the crab, tomatoes, basil and oregano; cook and stir for 5-6 minutes or until heated through. Remove from the heat.

Brush both sides of each slice of bread with remaining oil. In another large skillet, toast bread for 1-2 minutes on each side. Cut each slice in half; top with crab mixture.

Makes16 appetizers.

Mary Cokenour
September 1997