I ate at an Italian restaurant in Newark, DE for six years, working there for about 2 of them. I practically lived there and still ate there on my days off. It is a local favorite with great food, huge portions and extremely reasonable prices. The name of the restaurant is Cucina di Napoli and if you find yourself in Delaware, I recommend it.
Now, one of my favorite things they have is their bruschetta (pictured above). It may sound silly since this is a simple appetizer, but they hit it out of the park every. single. time. It usually comes with five large slices of bread, perfectly toasted to be crispy on the outside as to not get soggy and soft on the inside making it easy to bite in to and chew. They go the tomato-garlic-onion route with basil and a standard dressing. Absolutely fresh and delicious. I could eat the whole plate as a meal.
I recently had some people over for a dinner party and wanted to make a light, yet delicious and satisfying appetizer, so I attempted to re-create this appetizer. The biggest difference is that I added small pieces of fresh mozzarella cheese. Hence the “caprese-style” part of the dish’s title. Overall it was a huge success!
Turing for a second to the wonderful-for-familiarization-purposes website Wikipedia,
“Insalata Caprese (salad in the style of Capri) is a simple salad from the Italian region of Campania, made of sliced fresh buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil. In Italy, unlike most salads, it is usually served as an antipasto (starter), not a contorno (side dish).”
“Bruschetta (Italian pronunciation: [brusˈketːa] ( listen)) is an appetizer from central Italy whose origin dates to at least the 15th century. It consists of roasted bread rubbed with garlic and topped 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. Bruschetta is usually served as a snack or appetizer.”
So the american-ized version of Bruschetta with the tomatos isn’t exactlyyyyyy traditional – but it is delicious, and it’s pretty close, so who cares?
Here is what you’ll need:
- 6 Roma tomatoes
- 1 small white or yellow onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 7 or so leaves of fresh Basil – fresh makes a big difference, so I would suggest splurging for it!
- Fresh mozzarella cheese (as much as you want – but one small container of the mozz balls in water would do it)
- Whatever kind of bred you’d like – I would suggest italian or fresh bread cut in to slices
- Salt and pepper to taste
Here is what you’ll do:
- Slice bread, toast in the oven or a toaster oven on 400 for about 10 minutes – until they reach desired toastiness- (Not really a word, but I like it so just go with it)
- Chop the tomatoes in to small pieces (but not minced!) – For tips, you can go here. Add to a large mixing bowl.
- Chop onions in to desired sized pieces. If you like the taste of raw onion you may want bigger pieces the same size as a the tomatoes. I like to chop the onions very small – almost minced.
- Peel and chop garlic. Add to the bowl.
- fold all Basil leaves together and in half, then chop finely. Add to bowl.
- Chop cheese in to small pieces – again, any size you’d prefer. For this particular dish I think that smaller pieces, but again not minced, works best.
- Add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. I would start with 2 tablespoons of oil, mix, and go from there.
- Top bread slices with mixture and enjoy!
Your thoughts on bruschetta?
Any other favorite appetizers you can share?!