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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Crostini or Bruschetta?

Are you looking for bruschetta recipes? I offer a good recipe for classic bruschetta, but you may also enjoy the more innovative beet and goat cheese bruschetta, or asparagus and blue cheese bruschetta.
There is often some disagreement as to whether a particular dish, consisting of some kind of bread and topped with some kind of topping, is bruschetta, or crostini. In my experience, food purists will insist that bruschetta is a term reserved only for toasted bread rubbed with roasted garlic and brushed with olive oil. So had I served a trio of bruschettas, or a trio of crostinis? I did a little digging into this debate.

Based on the definitions I could find online, the two words are not clearly distinct:

[kroh-STEE-nee] 1. Meaning "little toasts" in Italian, crostini are small, thin slices of toasted bread, which are usually brushed with olive oil. 2. The word also describes canapés consisting of small slices of toast with a savory topping such as cheese, shrimp, pâté or anchovies. 3. Sometimes crostini refers to the equivalent of a crouton used for soups or salads.

It consists of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Variations may include toppings of spicy red pepper, tomato, vegetables, beans, cured meat, and/or cheese; the most popular American recipe involves basil, fresh mozzarella, and tomato.

In the U.S. most people associate bruschetta with a particular combination of finely chopped tomatoes and herbs, possibly with cheese as well. With apologies to the purists, I have decided to defer to popular practice and use "bruschetta" to refer to the category of appetizers utilizing sliced baguette topped with finely chopped and mixed vegetables.

Feel free to post comments if you have a feeling one way or another. I love to hear what folks think!

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jessica said...

no research done here, just introspection...i think crostini refers more to the solitary toast and bruschetta to the combination of the bread/toast and tomato-based topping. i've had bruschetta in restaurants that, surprisingly, was quite thick and hardly what i would call a 'toast' at all. crostini, though, needs to be quite crispy (so is therefore usually thin), i believe. bruschetta is only bruschetta if its topped, it would seem. and crostini is crostini whether it is or isn't. as long as its toasty. and small.

you smell what i'm steppin' in?

fun blog...

The Skinny Gourmet said...

Jessica, I like where you are thinking about this, and you point out some interesting contractions in use. Bruschetta more defined by its topping (particularly in the US by the typical use of tomatoes) and Crostini more defined by its bread base (thin, often toasted). Somewhat confusingly, it seems many Europeans, particularly in Italy, define the bruschetta more narrowly as the thin bit of bread rubbed with nothing but olive oil and garlic, no toppings at all!

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