Amazing Bruschetta on the Grill

You’ll never go back to traditional oven-baked bruschetta again.

Bruschetta is a traditional Italian dish made from grilled crisp country bread rubbed with fresh garlic, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and finished with a variety of delicious toppings. Authentic bruschetta is incredibly versatile and can be prepared entirely to suit your own tastes. Toppings can be minimal, such as simply adding some fresh herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Food lovers can get more creative with their bruschetta toppings, adding anything from aubergine (eggplant) to anchovies.

You may already be familiar with oven baked bruschetta, but have you ever tried making it on your barbeque or grill? Whether you would like to make the ideal appetiser, or are desiring a more substantial meal, bruschetta made on the grill will add a mouth-watering dish to any summer barbeque.

The Perfect Bruschetta on the Grill

There are several factors that go into making the perfect bruschetta. From the dicing of the tomatoes to the brushing of the garlic, every detail will have an effect on the flavoursome outcome. Here are the three most important factors in a making top-quality bruschetta.

#1: The Bread

The perfect bread for a making a bruschetta should be fresh and crispy. Crusty country bread, French baguettes, farmhouse loaves and Italian ciabatta all provide that required crunch. Sourdough adds a distinctive tang which may work well depending on your other ingredients.

The bread should be cut into one-inch thick slices. This will ensure they grill well without burning, and provide sufficient support for the toppings. When rubbing the bread with garlic, chop the clove in half and rub with the open section for extra garlic flavour.

#2: The Tomatoes

To achieve the perfect crisp bite without making a mess, the tomatoes should be diced to a particular size. Take the pain out of it with this handy trick for perfectly coring and dicing tomatoes:

  1. Use a paring knife to remove the core of the tomato.
  2. Slice the tomato crosswise, in slices about half an inch thick.
  3. Stack several slices of tomato and slice them crosswise and then width wise.

#3: The Cheese

Most people finish their bruschetta with some parmesan shavings for added flavor. In order to get the most authentic food experience possible, make your own shavings by using a sharp vegetable peeler along the side of the block of fresh parmesan cheese.

If you have a barbeque smoker, you can smoke your parmesan cheese before shaving to create an even fuller flavour.

Preparing Your Grill

In advance of preparing your bruschetta, first get your grill ready as follows:

Charcoal grill – Open the bottom vent of your grill completely. Fill a large chimney starter with about 6 kilos (or US quarts) of charcoal briquettes. When the top coals are partially ash covered, pour the charcoal evenly over the grill. Place the cooking grate on the grill, cover and open the lid vent in full. Heat the grill for about 5 minutes until hot.

Gas grill – Turn on all the burners on your gas grill to a high heat. Cover and heat the grill for about 15 minutes until hot. Leave the burners on a high heat.

The cooking grate should be oiled when placing your bread on the grill.

Authentic Bruschetta Recipes

Bruschetta with tomato and herbs

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 loaf crusty white bread, sliced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • A few leaves of fresh basil, shredded*
  • Salt and pepper

*Basil may be replaced by a reduced quantity of thyme or oregano. Additional herbs like fresh parsley and minced fresh sage can be added to any bruschetta recipe for extra flavour.

  1. Place tomatoes in a medium bowl, season with salt and pepper and stir in fresh herbs.
  2. Grill bread on both sides until golden brown, then rub one side of the bread with garlic clove.
  3. Sprinkle olive oil over the bread, add the tomato topping using a slotted spoon, and serve immediately.

Bruschetta with red onions, herbs and parmesan

Ingredients:

  • 4 red onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 loaf crusty white bread, sliced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons minced fresh herbs like parsley, basil or chives
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over a medium heat. Add onions and sugar and cook, while stirring, until soft (about 7-8 minutes).
  2. Reduce heat and cook for a further 7 minutes until onions are sweet and tender.
  3. Stir in balsamic vinegar, herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Grill bread on both sides until golden brown then rub one side of the bread with garlic clove.
  5. Sprinkle olive oil over the bread, add the toppings, sprinkle with parmesan shavings and serve immediately.

Bruschetta with sautéed sweet peppers

Ingredients:

  • 4 large red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, cut into 3 x ¼ inch strips
  • 2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 loaf crusty white bread, sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, (3 peeled, 3 minced)
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained, ¼ cup juice reserved
  • 4 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Parmesan cheese shavings
  • Salt
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil, peppers, onions, and some salt in a skillet over a medium-high heat. Cook until vegetables are soft and starting to brown (about 10-12 minutes).
  2. Reduce heat to medium and push vegetables to one side. Add 1 teaspoon of oil, minced garlic, and pepper flakes. Cook for about 30 seconds then mix with vegetables.
  3. Reduce to low heat, mix in tomatoes, reserved juice, and thyme. Cover and cook for about 15-18 minutes until the moisture has evaporated.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar and a pinch of salt.
  5. Grill bread on both sides until golden brown then rub one side of the bread with garlic clove.
  6. Sprinkle olive oil over the bread, add the toppings, sprinkle with parmesan shavings and serve immediately.

Bruschetta with grilled aubergine, rosemary, and feta

Ingredients:

  • 1½ pounds aubergine, cut into ¾ inch thick slices
  • 1 loaf crusty white bread, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, (2 peeled, 1 minced)
  • 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  1. Mix ¼ cup of oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, and rosemary in a small bowl.
  2. Lay slices of aubergine on a baking sheet and brush with the oil and vinegar mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Oil the cooking grate and place the aubergine on the grill. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, turning once, until streaked with dark grill marks on both sides.
  4. Remove the aubergine from the grill and slice crosswise into 1 inch strips. Cover to keep warm.
  5. Grill bread on both sides until golden brown then rub one side of the bread with garlic clove.
  6. Sprinkle olive oil over the bread, add the aubergine, and top with feta. Serve immediately.

Rosemary and white bean spread for bruschetta

This fabulous spread works well with any of the above bruschetta recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Place two-thirds of the beans in a food processor. Add 2 tablespoons of oil, water, lemon juice, crushed garlic, salt and pepper (to taste) and process until smooth (about 10 seconds).
  2. Add rosemary and the remaining beans. Using the processor, pulse until they are mixed but not smooth (about 5 pulses).

All that is left is for you to enjoy your authentic bruschetta, no matter which method you choose. Bon appetite!

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