Sunday, January 6, 2013

Bruschetta with Tomatoes - Crostini - Fettunata


I can trace my love for authentic Italian cooking to this little treat.  I was a central Illinois farm boy (well, city boy, but 30,000 people surrounded by farms counted to some as farm boy), who had an opportunity to live in New York for a year. I wandered into one of those little Italian bistros that are seemingly on every block.  The very patient waiter took the time to explain Bruschetta al Pomodoro to me.

Literally translated as toast with tomatoes, the toast is a very simple garlic bread... Just different than what I had tasted in the past.  The waiter brought me out a "Fettunata", or a Tuscan version of toast.  Fettunata historically was served in November, around harvesting season for olives.  This is the traditional celebration dish for the first pressing (cold pressing) of the olives to create Cold Pressed Extra Virgin olive Oil.  A Tuscan Fettunata fantasy would be served at the orchard during a lunch break from the hard work of harvesting.  A small fire is set up to toast fresh slices of Italian sweet bread.  A garlic clove is sliced and rubbed into the toast with a drizzle of the cold pressed oil.  The crunchy/soft texture of the toast, the Earthy garlic and sweet creamy Oil combines for one of life's perfect experiences.  Maybe a little guitar music in the background.... Someday.

When I make my Bruschetta with Tomatoes, I start with a Tuscan Fettunata.  I slice some fresh made bread, brush the best Olive Oil I have in my pantry, slice a garlic clove (exposing more of the garlic oils inside) and just rub.  Both sides.

Just this rubbing is enough to give you a wonderful garlic toast.  No need for butter or garlic powder.

After the brushing and rubbing, I toast in the broiler, keeping an eye on the toast to just get the top mildly golden brown and delicious, with the edges starting to char...  Only a few minutes each side... watch carefully as it moves from perfect golden toasty to black burnt quickly..

Before I start to toast, assemble my tomato topping.  This can be a s simple as just tomato slices (or chunks) drizzled with more olive oil.  Or if you really want a taste treat, try this recipe...


Bruschetta with Tomatoes (Bruschetta al Pomodoro)


Ingredients
  • 4 Slices freshly toasted Tuscan Fettunata (Garlic Toast)
  • 3 Medium Firm Plum Tomatoes, Chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Crushed and minced
  • 8 Whole fresh Basil leaves, Sliced into ribbons
  • 1 Tiny Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
  • a couple turns of a Pepper Grinder
  • 2 TBS Best quality Balsamic Vinegar
  • 3 TBS Best quality Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine all ingredients (except the freshly toasted Fettunata) into a food processor
  2. Run for only a few seconds. Repeat a second at a time until you get a chunky puree
  3. Taste, add more salt or pepper to taste
  4. Spoon on the Fettunata,
  5. Serve room temperature and ENJOY!
While we are explaining words...

Crostini

In common use (restaurant speak), crostini is popping up on lots of menus lately.  Crostini in it's simplest terms is simply toast, but usually toast from a small round loaf of bread (think a French Baguette).

Crostini topped... well topped anything is the new appetizer term.  It just means toast with a topping.

Here are the little Antipasto options I served one day last week...

I made a Tuscan Fettunata (grilled garlic toast.  I did serve it with a small bowl of olive oil and Balsamic vinegar to dip.

I served a larger than should have been Crostini with a little fresh Mozzarella Cheese and some Prosciutto Ham.

And for me, I can not get enough of my first authentic Italian love (you never forget your first), Bruschetta al Pomodoro.

A meal in itself, cue the Godfather theme and picture that Tuscan sunset after a hard days' work harvesting for the cold pressing.


These are a perfect Antipasto dish.  Portable, easily eaten in only a few bites.  Perfect to be served on a deck or patio to set the tone for a meal.  Fresh ingredients are the star of the dish.  Grab a glass of Vino (wine) and meet your guests and allow the stress of the day to fade away as you get set for your meal.

Antipasto, it's not as much a course as an attitude adjustment for the meal to come.

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So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Authentic Italian Recipes"!!!

Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop. The world's most popular cuisine, authentic, natural, organic, Farm to Table... the Italians started, perfected or embraced it before it became a fad. This page is a guide to Italian Cooking... For the home cook!  So, Cin Cin (toast) and Buon Appetito (Enjoy your Meal) to you all and let's Cook authentic Italian!

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