Bruschetta is a wonderful starter, made with basic ingredients. There are lots of variations and plenty of scope for you to be as creative as you want. My favourite bruschetta is still the classic with just tomato, basil and garlic. Made with ripe, in season ingredients, it is absolutely divine as a starter. For a dinner party or a date, this dish looks impressive, tastes delicious and is practically stress-free, given how quick and easy it is to make.
As the main ingredient is tomatoes, it is key to buy them as fresh and ripe as possible. If you can find some delicious imported varieties in your supermarket then go for these, else use British tomatoes when they’re in season throughout the summer and autumn.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Ingredients (per person):
- 2 slices of ciabatta loaf (cut 1 inch thick)
- 2 large ripe tomatoes
- a handful of fresh basil leaves
- Garlic oil
- Freshly ground pepper
- Put a griddle pan over a medium-high heat and leave to get hot – don’t put any oil in it!
- In the meantime, chop up the tomatoes (with the skin on) into ½cm pieces, removing the majority of the watery seeds.
- Chop up 5 – 6 basil leave and mix in with the tomatoes.
- By now, the griddle pan should be very hot. Place you slices of ciabatta into the pan and leave to grill for 1 – 2 minutes. Carefully lift up one slice to make sure it has become golden and has the black griddle marks then flip all of the slices over and griddle the other side. I use a heavy-based saucepan to help squash the bread to the griddle to speed up this process. Nigella endorses her should-be patented method of a brick wrapped in tin foil to squash things down on her griddle. If you’re impatient, use whatever heavy implement you have to hand that will do the trick.
- Remove the ciabatta from the griddle and turn the heat off – that’s the ‘cooking’ done. Drizzle a little garlic oil over one side of the bread.
- Top with the tomato mixture, then sparingly sprinkle over a little salt and freshly ground pepper. Top with a small basil leaf for decoration and drizzle over a few more drops of garlic oil.
- Serve and enjoy this very easy to make yet still delicious and impressive starter.