Five Rules to the Make the Best Bruschetta

For what seems like the forty seventh Sunday in a row, I had a late start. Rolling out of bed at 8:38 AM, I had exactly 22 minutes to brush my teeth, get some clothes on, comb my hair, make “something with tomatoes or zucchinis” for this months’ Food Bloggers Los Angeles (FBLA) meeting, and get on the road. (It’s like a book club meeting, but for food bloggers.)

Obviously, slow-roasted tomatoes were out of the question. (Never mind the fact that it’s summer and we’re in the middle of a heat wave.) So I made the only thing I knew I could pull off in less than ten minutes: a bruschetta [bru-sket-ta] using the backyard haul.

I realize there are countless bruschetta recipes out there. So here are five reasons why you should try mine:

  1. I don’t use balsamic dressing. This is mainly visual; by using a lighter colored balsamic dressing, my tomatoes don’t turn into a dark brown color.
  2. I do use Dijon mustard. This helps to emulsify the dressing. Why is this good? So the olive oil doesn’t slide right off the tomatoes and the vinegar doesn’t sit by itself in the bottom of the serving bowl.
  3. I press my garlic clove(s). I don’t like the texture of minced garlic in my bruschetta (I know, I’m weird), and much prefer pressing a clove or two through a garlic press. This way, you smell it and taste it, but it doesn’t get stuck in between your teeth.
  4. I seed and drain my tomatoes. There are two reasons. 1) When assembling my bruschetta, I don’t want the tomato juices to trickle down and drown the bread. 2) I find that the juice in the bowl dehances (is that a word?) the overall flavor, which I try so hard to retain by growing my own tomatoes.
  5. I rub the crap out of my fresh basil leaves. Why? Because it’s a good way to release the oils, and the release of oils is what makes my bruschetta so fragrant.

Then there’s the bonus rule, and that is: lightly toast the bread. It helps keep your vessel crunchy before you bit into it.

Try it sometime. Especially when it’s summer you have a boatload of tomatoes.




 Backyard Bruschetta

Five rules to make the best bruschetta you can make: 1) don’t use balsamic vinegar, 2) emulsify your dressing, 3) press your garlic cloves, 4) drain your tomatoes, and 5) use fresh basil. Try it this way and let me know if you agree.


~ Makes 1 cup ~


  • 4 fresh large basil leaves, about 3” in length each
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup white balsamic or other lightly colored flavored vinegar
  • 1 medium garlic clove, peeled
  • ¼ cup olive oil


~ Preparation ~

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

  1. Stack basil leaves, one on top of the other. Roll them up lengthwise on a cutting board. Cut the leaves crosswise, as thinly as you can. Then pick up the pieces with your fingers, and rub them together between your fingers to release some of the oil. Set aside.
  1. Place a colander over a bowl. On the same cutting board, slice tomatoes in half. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Then finely dice the tomato flesh. Place tomato into the colander and let the remaining liquids drain out. Help it a little by swirling the tomatoes around with your fingers. Get as much of the juice out as possible.
  1. Place a damp washcloth on the kitchen counter and place a one quart glass bowl over it.
  1. Using a small whisk, dip the tip into an open jar of Dijon mustard. When you pull the whisk out, you should have about a teaspoon of Dijon mustard stuck to it.
  1. Transfer the whisk to the one-quart glass bowl and add the vinegar.
  1. Using a garlic press, press one garlic clove into the glass bowl.
  1. With your primary hand, whisk briskly to combine the vinegar, garlic and mustard. Continue to whisk briskly (pretend you’re in a contest to go as fast as you can) as you slowly drizzle in the olive oil. It should take you a full minute to drizzle in all of the olive oil. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
  1. Add tomatoes and basil. Toss gently with rubber spatula.
  1. Serve with lightly toasted baguette slices.

Source: Rustic Garden Bistro


  1. says

    I’ll have to try your way the next time I’m in the mood for tomato salad. (Sometimes I have the hankering for the bruschetta topping and not the bread. Weird, I know.)

    I tend to favor the very simple: tomatoes, lemon (juice and zest), olive oil, and basil, with garlic rubbed on the toast.

  2. Madonna says

    I have been asking my food friends what makes a great cook. One said to treat eat ingredient like it is the only ingredient. I have to say it made an impression on me. Now with this post that is so easy, yet specific I am convinced. I am so glad to hear you use a garlic press. Many chefs deride the use of a garlic press, but I like the result and I thought I was the only one. However, I do halve and remove the endosperm because I think that part is bitter. I started doing this ever since I saw the big debate on Michael Ruhlman’s site. Thanks for the specifics.

  3. says

    I am so sorry I missed FBLA meeting and your beautiful bruschetta (and I am so happy you can pronounce it right:)
    I miss you and cannot wait to see you:)