What’s the first thing you grab when you sit down at the dinner table? No, the answer is not a cocktail or a glass of wine. We’re going for the carb-filled wonder that is bread, the perfect starter to any meal. In whatever from, breaking bread with loved ones is a time-honored tradition. Chef Laura Sampson is a mother of three boys and still finds the time to share her passion for food on blog, Little House Big Alaska. On her site, she breathes new life into approachable recipes for classic foods, perfect for the family-oriented (and busy parent).
Chef Sampson’s preferred method of kicking off a meal? A simple, yet delicious bruschetta that the entire family will devour. With traces back to early Rome, this uncomplicated, no nonsense dish requires minimum effort, and yields maximum satisfaction while only requiring a few common kitchen ingredients. She tells Mashed that "these are meant to be served as an appetizer alongside drinks before dinner. But, that being said, my kids will happily eat these any time we make them. They’re also perfect alongside a bowl of soup or with a salad."
Here’s our recipe for an easy bruschetta that can be made in just 15 minutes.
Prep the bruschetta ingredients
While the term "bruschetta" sounds fancy enough to impress your family and dinner guests alike, the process of making this starchy starter is far from complicated. First up, you’re going to preheat the broiler to ensure it’s ready to go after your short time of preparation. Next, you’re going to gather your ingredients. In this recipe, just four are needed: salt, a loaf of crusty bread, a clove of fresh garlic, and some olive oil. As with Italian cooking, it doesn’t take many ingredients to make a dish that truly shines in flavor.
Chef Sampson shared with Mashed some tips on choosing the right bread for this starter. She explains: "Choose something with a nice thick crust, like a baguette. An Italian loaf would also work wonderfully." If you’re feeling ambitious and ready to venture into at-home baking, you can even try out our homemade baguette recipe.
Arrange the bruschetta ingredients and broil
Once you’ve gathered the goods, you can go ahead and line your baking sheet with parchment paper. While this isn’t a necessity, Sampson shares: "I just like to keep my pans clean. If you don’t care about getting oils on your pans you can totally skip the parchment paper." We are all for a quick and speedy cleanup, so parchment paper here works wonders.
Go ahead and cut your bread into slices that are uniform and approximately 3/4 inch each. Arrange the slices on your baking sheet in a single layer. You’re going to want to make sure that your sheet goes into the oven approximately 6 inches under the broiler to ensure a crunchy exterior and soft interior. This super concentrated heating method should take no longer than two to three minutes. The final result should look properly toasted with a light golden-brown color.
Prepare the bruschetta’s garlic topping
Garlic is a staple in Italian cuisine thanks to the bounty of flavor it infuses into any dish. It’s no surprise, that with our bruschetta recipe it is to thank for much of the flavor. You’ll also receive the added health benefits of its ability to boost the immune system and reduce blood pressure. Our recipe calls for the use of the pungent plant in its natural, raw form. As your bread is in the broiler, peel a clove of garlic and lightly mash one side of it with a fork. When the broiled slices are removed from the oven, simply rub the surface with the mashed portion of the garlic clove.
We were curious if an already roasted garlic clove could work in this recipe. Sampson explains: "I think a light swipe with a garlic clove is traditional. Since you put it on after it is already toasted, you’re really getting just a hint of garlic.
Top with the bruschetta with olive oil and salt, then serve
Once the hint of garlic has been added to the bread, simply brush heavily across the entire surface with olive oil. Chef Sampson shares her preference on what product to use and suggests: "for olive oil, something really hearty does well here. Extra virgin cold-pressed has lots of flavor to it. If you only like a light oil or a mixture, you can use that too." If you prefer melted butter, that could also work here, but you would be straying away from the traditional Italian way of preparing bruschetta and more into a garlic toast area.
For a final touch, you will sprinkle a bit of salt over the entire dish. Best served hot, you and your dinner guests will be living la dolce vita in no time. For variation, you can feel free to add just about any topping once they’re done. Chopped tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, or even a slice of prosciutto would pair wonderfully. Salute!
- 1 loaf crusty bread
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat the broiler and line a baking sheet with parchment if desired.
- Slice the bread into ¾ inch slices and place slices on a baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet 6 inches under the broiler and broil 2-3 minutes or until toasty.
- Meanwhile, peel a clove of garlic and lightly mash with a fork on one side but leave the other side intact.
- When the bread comes out of the oven rub with the mashed garlic clove and then brush heavily with olive oil.
- Sprinkle with salt and serve while hot.