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Off The Menu: A Trio of Bruschette

A perfect appetizer any month, bruschetta is a relatively quick and easy starter, and perfect for showcasing those delicious, fresh tomatoes that will be ripening soon. We’re lucky, however, to have terrific, tasty tomatoes available to us for a much longer time with our greenhouse growers extending the season.


Let’s take a deeper dive into this ubiquitous dish and learn a little more:

  • Firstly, let’s say it correctly – it’s pronounced "brusketta" in Italian.

  • You might think the name is the tomato topping, but the word comes from the Roman “bruscare”, which means “to toast” or “roast over coals” and refers only to the toasted bread. It was originally a way of using up bread that was going stale.

  • In Tuscany, they would call it Fettunta (“la fetta unta” or “the oily slice”) and without any toppings, it would be used to taste the first olive oil of the year in November.

  • Bruschette (the plural of bruschetta) can have a variety of toppings; you could use vegetables such as peppers or snap peas, salumi, broad beans, or cheese.

  • Some might like their tomato topping spicy and add chili peppers or flakes, and some might like more herbs and add Mediterranean flavours of oregano, rosemary, or thyme.


We know there are many excellent examples of bruschetta on Alberta restaurant menus, and we asked three of our favourites how they made their versions taste so good.


Many thanks to Chevonne Centini, owner and restaurant director of Centini Restaurant and Lounge; Chef Willow Eaglespeaker, Chef de Cuisine at The Little Chief Restaurant at Grey Eagle Resort & Casino; and Chef Chris of The Kitchen at Schott’s Lake, for generously sharing their recipes, and some sage advice for us home cooks.


 

Centini Restaurant's Bruschetta

“The bruschetta we make at the restaurant is made from tomatoes of incomparable quality. I love the ones from Paradise Hill that Co-op carries,” says Chevonne Centini.


“I know the magic, as always, is in the skill with the knife and getting those pieces cut uniformly at just the right size — something we are maniacal about in the kitchen! Essentially, bruschetta is nothing more than finely diced tomatoes, good quality sea salt or kosher salt and olive oil, again quality being key.”



 

Little Chief Restaurant’s Bruschetta Bites


“I was thinking about ideas while creating my menu, and decided to recreate a fan favourite of the hotel (Grey Eagle). My idea was to showcase the bruschetta flavours that people love, but express them creatively,” explains Chef Eaglespeaker.


“While brainstorming, a few ideas came to mind that I would use: different tomatoes to complement sweetness and acidity, and rolling house made ricotta into little balls the size of bocconcini, then into tomato powder that we make from dehydrated tomato ends, which gives us a creative use for waste too.”


 

Schott’s Lake Bruschetta


“I love great tomatoes, and The Great Greenhouse Company, a small family-owned and operated business here in Sundre, has some of the best I have ever tasted,” says Chef Chris.


“This is a dish that I love to share with my family and friends. Use fresh, ripe tomatoes and spend a little extra on high quality olive oil and a good aged balsamic.”



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