KYFF, Grilling Italy

What to grill this weekend? How about some bread? Bruschetta is one of my most popular recipes and is so simple to prepare. It is an ideal snack to enjoy while you are waiting for the main dish on the grill to be finished. 

Ideally, use day old or very dense thickly-sliced bread. The addition of the smoke from the grill adds magical flavor to the crust and it’s toppings. There is no limit in toppings for your bruschetta, just let your imagination run free. Think of your bread crusts as an artist’s canvas. 

Join me for a bruschetta tour through Italy. Which, BTW, the variety in bruschetta toppings vary from region to region. 

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When canal-side in Venice, I must have my bruschetta with Baccala' Mantecato, that is topped with whipped salted cod. This cod is making me thirsty! Vino prego!

While in Siena, I’ve enjoyed grilled toasts di fegato, that's made with garlicky chopped liver.

The southern part of Italy is the region to feast on the superior quality of fruits from Italy's fertile soil, particularly Naples. Ahh, delicioso pomodoro. This is the bruschetta most people envision - crowns of sweet ripened tomatoes, basil and olive oil.   

Before you take your first bite, let me transport you to my favorite place in Positano; Trattoria La Tagliata where Bartolo is the family's grill chef. He will take really good care of you - while you nibble on his bruschetta, enjoying the priceless view of the Amalfi Coast and await his grilled specialties.

Something wonderful happens to country-style bread when it’s brushed with olive oil and grilled. It’s smoky flavor adds another layer to olive oil, fresh tomatoes with lots of caramelized garlic, parmesan cheese, and capers. Dry day-old bread makes the best bruschetta, so this is a good way to use up yesterday’s loaf of Italian, French, or sourdough bread. Serve bruschetta with salad or soup, or as a snack with a chunk of sopressatta.

This recipe is from my first book, and to pass along just how much everyone enjoys bruschetta from the grill it’s my very first recipe in the book, page 14.

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Bruschetta

From Grilling with Chef George Hirsch | The cookbook By George Hirsch with Marie Bianco © 1994

Makes 6 

3 cups seeded and diced plum tomatoes

24 cloves caramelized garlic

2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1 Tablespoon capers, rinsed

Salt and pepper, to taste

12 slices round country- style bread, sliced 3/4 inch thick

1/4 cup olive oil

6 basil leaves, chopped

Grated parmesan cheese 

To make the topping, combine the tomtoes, garlic, parmesan cheese, capers, salt and pepper.

Brush the bread on both sides with olive oil and grill 10 to 15 seconds on each side. Press down on the bread with a spatula so that the bread picks up grill marks.

When the bread is grilled, top off the slices evenly with the tomato mixture and place them in a foil pan on the grill. Close the hood and heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan and sprinkle each bruschetta with basil and parmesan cheese.

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