Bruschetta - the original garlic bread!


 

Definition: The proper pronunciation is [broo-SKEH-tah; NOT broo-SHEH-tah] "From the Italian bruscare meaning "to roast over coals," this traditional garlic bread is made by rubbing slices of toasted bread with garlic cloves, then drizzling the bread with extra-virgin olive oil. The bread is salted and peppered, then heated and served warm."
--Copyright (c) 1995 by Barron's Educational Series, from The New Food Lover's Companion, Second Edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst

Michael Rossi shopping at the street market in Irvine, CA for fresh ingredients such as the tomatoes and onions used in this week's recipes.
Onions

 

 

Olive Oil
Homer called it "liquid gold." In ancient Greece, athletes ritually rubbed it all over their body. Its mystical glow illuminated history. Drops of it seeped into the bones of dead saints and martyrs through holes in their tombs. Olive oil has been more than mere food to the peoples of the Mediterranean: it has been medicinal, magical, an endless source of fascination and wonder and the fountain of great wealth and power. The olive tree, symbol of abundance, glory and peace, gave its leafy branches to crown the victorious in friendly games and bloody war, and the oil of its fruit has anointed the noblest of heads throughout history. Olive crowns and olive branches, emblems of benediction and purification, were ritually offered to deities and powerful figures: some were even found in Tutankhamen's tomb. ...

Beginning in 5000 B.C. and until 1400 B.C., olive cultivation spread from Crete to Syria, Palestine, and Israel; commercial networking and application of new knowledge then brought it to Southern Turkey, Cyprus, and Egypt. Until 1500 B.C., Greece -- particularly Mycenae -- was the area most heavily cultivated. With the expansion of the Greek colonies, olive culture reached Southern Italy and Northern Africa in the eighth century B.C., then spread into Southern France. Olive trees were planted in the entire Mediterranean basin under Roman rule. According to the historian Pliny, Italy had "excellent olive oil at reasonable prices" by the first century A.C, "the best in the Mediterranean," he maintained....

We treasure extra-virgin olive oil for its nutritional and salutary virtues. La Cucina Italiana reports that extra-virgin olive oil is the most digestible of the edible fats: it helps to assimilate vitamins A, D and K; it contains so-called essential acids that cannot be produced by our own bodies; it slows down the aging process; and it helps bile, liver and intestinal functions. It is also valued for its culinary virtues and organoleptic properties as well: flavor (sapore), bouquet (aroma), and color (colore)."
Source: Global Gourmet

Bruschetta

From Chef Michael Rossi


Here are three different toppings
for this delicious Italian antipasto

The Bread

Preparation

  • Cut a French baguette in to 1/2 inch thick slices.

  • Rub the bread lightly with garlic cloves

  • Drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil

  • Toast until golden brown.

  • Add the following toppings.

Peperonata

Ingredients

3 each - Red Bell Pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and julienned
1 each - Red Onion, small diced
3 each - Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and small diced
1/2 cup - Basil Leaves
1/2 cup - Sicilian Green Olives
3 tablespoons - Capers, salt-cured, rinsed and drained
1 ounce - Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
to taste - Salt and Pepper

Preparation

  • In a large skillet over medium heat warm the olive oil and sauté the onions until translucent.

  • Next add the vinegar to the pan and allow to reduce by ˝.    

  • Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally until most of their liquid has evaporated.

  • Finally add the peppers and stir in the basil, olives and capers and simmer for a few minutes to allow the flavors to infuse.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Yield:  1 cup

Green Olive Tapenade

Ingredients

1 cup - Sicilian Green Olives, pitted
1 ounce - Pine Nuts
1 ounce - Italian Parsley, chopped
1 ounce - Basil
1 ounce - Thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon - Lemon Zest
1 teaspoon - Capers, salt cured, rinsed and drained
1 clove - Garlic
2 1/2 ounces - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
to taste - Salt and Pepper

Preparation

  • Pulse the olives in a food processor until well chopped.

  • Add the remaining ingredients except for the olive oil and pulse until almost puree.

  • Next add the olive oil in a stream with the machine running until the mixture is smooth.

  • Season to taste with Salt and Pepper.

Yield:  1 cup

Tomato and Basil Salsa

Ingredients

2 large - Tomatoes, small diced
1 each - Red Onion, small diced
1 ounce - Basil, chiffonade
2 cloves - Garlic, thinly sliced
2 ounces - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon - Balsamic Vinegar
to taste - Salt and Pepper

Preparation

  • Combine all the ingredients into a medium size bowl and mix well.

  • Season well with Salt and Pepper.

Yield:  1 cup

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Interesting Facts!

Food Preparation Technique

Chiffonade

Learn the technique from this video at The Food Network

Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers are sweet, juicy, colorful, and surprisingly nutritious: They are excellent sources of many essential nutrients. By weight, red peppers have three times as much vitamin C as citrus fruit. Moreover, red peppers are quite a good source of beta-carotene, and they offer a good amount of fiber and vitamin B6.

As bell peppers ripen on the vine, most varieties turn red and become sweeter. Bell peppers have no "bite" at all, since they contain a recessive gene that eliminates capsaicin, the substance that makes chili peppers hot. Instead, they have a mild tang (in red peppers, very mild indeed) and a crunchy texture that makes them suitable for eating raw. Their size, shape, and firmness allow them to be stuffed with all types of fillings
Source: Whole Health MD

Baguette
[bag-EHT]

French Bread that's been formed into a long, narrow cylindrical loaf. It usually has a crisp brown crust and light, chewy interior.