Plump and perfectly ripe summer tomatoes are best served simply, allowing their naturally sweet flavor and impressive juiciness to shine. That’s why our favorite tomato preparations require minimal ingredients: white bread topped with mayo and tomatoes, tomatoes tossed with red wine vinegar and fresh herbs, and, of course, tomato bruschetta — the classic Italian appetizer that’s practically summer on a platter.
Homemade tomato bruschetta requires nothing more than a bit of chopping and quick assembly: the best tomatoes you can find are tossed with a simple mix of fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil, then piled onto garlicky toasted bread. In fact, I’d argue that bruschetta, in all its sweet, crunchy, tangy glory, should be at the top of your summer tomato bucket list (and if you’ve been growing tomatoes and basil, you’re already halfway there). Here’s how to make the very best bruschetta at home.
Essential Tomato Bruschetta Ingredients
Bruschetta, in its most basic form, is simply grilled or toasted bread rubbed with garlic and brushed with olive oil. Tomato bruschetta, consisting of marinated tomatoes heaped onto the slices of toast, has become the most popular variation in the United States. Here’s what you need to know as you’re shopping and prepping.
Assembling and Serving Tomato Bruschetta
For the most flavorful bruschetta, you’ll want to give the tomatoes time to marinate — so before you do anything else, toss them with the basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. At this point, if you’re prepping the bruschetta in advance, you can pop the mixture in the fridge and let them marinate overnight.
Next, you’ll toast the bread. Arrange a rack about 5 to 6 inches below the broiler — if it’s too close, you’ll run the risk of burning the bread. When the slices are golden-brown and crisp, you’ll rub them with a garlic clove and brush them with olive oil, which will keep them from getting soggy when you add the tomatoes.
Just before serving, spoon the marinated tomatoes over the garlicky, oiled bread.If the tomatoes have released a lot of juices, use a slotted spoon to keep the bread from getting soggy. The bruschetta can be enjoyed as an appetizer or a light summer dinner, served alongside a salad or protein.
More Ways with Bruschetta
Although tomatoes are the most popular bruschetta topping, there are endless ways to switch it up. Here are some of our favorites.
- Sweet Potato & Goat Cheese Bruschetta
- Peach & Prosciutto Bruschetta
- Mushroom and Arugula Bruschetta
- Fava Bean and Radish Bruschetta
- Lemon-Thyme Bruschetta
How to Make Bruschetta
- 1 pound
tomatoes (3 to 4 medium)
- 1/4 cup
packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon
extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the baguette
- 1 teaspoon
- 1/2 teaspoon
- 1/4 teaspoon
freshly ground black pepper
- 1 clove
Flaky sea salt (optional)
Serrated knife, chef’s knife, and cutting board
Measuring cups and spoons
Chop the tomatoes. Core 3 tomatoes and, if they’re especially juicy, scoop out the seeds (this is optional, but will help prevent the bruschetta from getting soggy). Chop the tomatoes into 1/2-inch pieces, you’ll have about 2 cups. Place in a medium bowl.
Make the tomato mixture. Coarsely chop 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves and add to the bowl with the tomatoes. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and toss to combine. Set aside.
Toast the bread. Arrange a rack in the upper third of the oven (about 5 to 6 inches below the broiling element), and heat the broiler to high. Wipe off the cutting board and cut half a baguette into 3/4-inch thick slices (you’ll have 12 to 14 slices total). Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet and broil, flipping once, until golden brown and crisp on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side (watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn).
Rub the toasts with garlic. Peel and halve 1 garlic clove. Gently rub the toasts with the cut sides of the garlic.
Brush the toasts with olive oil.Brush each toast with a light coating of olive oil (you’ll need about 1 to 2 tablespoons).
Top with tomatoes. Taste the tomato mixture and season with more salt and pepper as needed. Scoop the tomato mixture out with a slotted spoon and divide evenly among the toasts. Sprinkle with flaky salt, if desired, and serve immediately.
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