BRUSCHETTA: A Classic Italian Appetiser

In one of my recent grocery shopping sprees, I chanced upon perfectly ripe and ready to eat avocados. I just had to get myself a bunch of these as I love them so much. Once you learn how to judge if the avocado is just ripe enough to eat, you open up a whole new world of healthy dishes to make with them. I thought of so many things that I could make using avocado from salads to sandwiches and of course guacamole! After much thought, I decided to use them to make bruschetta. Pronounced “brusketta”, this classic Italian appetiser is a perfect way to capture the flavours of garden ripened tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil. These are light enough for starters or evening snacks and are so healthy to. So, for those of you who made new year resolutions to eat healthier, this would be a very tasty and healthy addition to your diet.

In order to have some variation, I have created three toppings for these bruschetta – ?

  • Mango, chilli and tomato.
  • Onion and tomato. ?
  • Avocado and lemon.
  • If you are a mango fan like me, then you will really relish the Mango topping too! And of course, onion and tomato are all time favourites.

Ingredients

  • Whole uncut loaf of bread
  • Avocados – 2
  • Cherry tomatoes – 1 packet
  • Onion – 1 ?Mango – 1
  • Green chilli – 1
  • Garlic – 1or 2 pods finely chopped
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Himalayan salt (if available, else regular salt is fine too)
  • Crushed black pepper.

To prepare the three toppings, chop the onion, tomato and mango into small pieces and keep separately. Finely chop the green chilli. If you have never used avocados before, here are a few tips that will help you. Firstly, avocados are ready for use when their outer skin has turned brown/ black. Do get a feel of them too, as it should ‘feel’ soft when pressed lightly (don’t use too much pressure or you will cause the fruit to bruise). To cut open, slice the avocado all the way around lengthwise and twist open. One half of the avocado will retain the big round seed. Removing the seed is easy too. Use a knife and latch it onto the seed with a bit of force. The knife will wedge into the seed. Now twist the knife and the seed will break free from the fruit. Simply pull the knife away pulling the seed along with it. To remove the fruit from the peel, use a table spoon to scoop out the entire half of the avocado. Now just slice the avocado and chop into smaller pieces. At this stage I always add lemon as the avocado is very prone to oxidation when cut. Using a fork, lightly mash the avocado but don’t overdo it. It tastes best with some chunky pieces retained. Add a dash of pink salt and the avocado topping is ready.

For the mango topping just combine the mango pieces with half of the cherry tomatoes and finely chopped green chilli and season with some salt.

For the last topping combine the remaining tomatoes with the chopped onion and season with salt. The three toppings are now ready. They can rest for some time while we prepare the bread.

For the bruschetta bread, I usually buy whole loaf bread freshly made from the bakery. Just slice the bread at an angle into roughly 1-2 cm width slices. I enjoy this bread a bit thick so I usually keep thick slices. Now just grill or toast this bread on a pan with butter and sprinkle finely chopped garlic on top. When the bread looks golden brown, remove from the pan and place in your serving tray. Add the toppings you prepared earlier and sprinkle some crushed salt and pepper. Before serving, add a little bit of olive oil all over the dish. Serve immediately to enjoy this warm, healthy and delicious dish.

Ms Aditi Pathak is based in Singapore. Widely travelled and from a Services background, cooking is one of her many passions.

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