Crostini vs. Bruschetta: Round 1
Crostini means little toasts in Italian. Thin slices of bread are toasted, drizzled with olive oil, and served warm with savory toppings, such as chopped vegetables, mozzarella, anything, really. Sort of like large croutons, but croutons are fried.
Bruschetta is from the Italian word buscare, which means to burn, or roast over coals. The correct pronunciation of this word is BRU-SKETTA, and it is like crostini, though bruschetta is always rubbed w/ a slice of garlic while warm, and usually topped with a fresh tomato and basil mixture, served as an appetizer/antipasto.
I LOVE crostini. I serve it in a million different ways. For lunch, I make larger crostini slices & use heartier toppings. For appetizers, I usually serve 3 different smaller types of crostini. You can do anything and everything. It's easy and forces you to be creative with what you have on hand. In an emergency, you can put a swipe of olivada (olive paste) from a jar, top with some roasted peppers and an anchovy slice (very Italiano). Salty and satisfying.
My basic Crostini recipe:
Slice good Italian peasant bread into slices. Put all the slices in a mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil and herbs de provence to coat. Put them on a cookie sheet and toast at 350 for about 12 minutes (keep an eye so they don't burn). I even use the toaster oven if I am only making a few slices.
The little toasts keep well in a zip loc for a day or so.
This week I grilled up a ton of veggies. Scallions, eggplant, zucchini, red peppers, red onion. Just sprinkle the veggies w/ kosher salt & olive oil before grilling. I topped crostini w/ oozing buffala mozzarella and the vegetables. Sprinkled with a little basil. Wonderful. Great first course.
Another great crostini idea is to spread some farmhouse chutney from Stonewall Kitchen on the toasts, then a swipe of fresh ricotta cheese (it is drier and better than the commercial stuff), a slice of prosciutto, basil and a slice of ripe, fresh fig. Drizzle some good balsamic and olive oil before serving, or you can leave them plain. Looks beautiful and tastes even better.
Last, but not least are my little pullman type crostini, sort of a British thing, not Italian at all, but everyone loves them.
I use an onion chutney and top with a slice of good, English farmhouse cheddar. This is so easy. Be creative and do your thing.
Round 1 goes to Crostini by a knockout!
PS. I watched the new PBS series Spain on the Road with Mario Batali, Mark Bittman and Gwyneth Paltrow this weekend. I was really looking forward to this series & set the DVR to tape it. It was so silly. It was just the 4 of these dopes riding around Spain in Mercedes' and giggling and eating. The dialogue was a big bore. I will not be watching the rest of the show. What a disappointment. Entourage is on Sunday nights, so I will look forward to that!