Thursday, February 28, 2008


Bruschetta is a traditional Italian dish. It is nothing more than toasted peasant-style bread slathered with extra-virgin olive oil and garlic. There are many variations; most Americans have encountered the tomato/basil version.

The etymology is quite interesting. The name comes from an Italian word that meant "to roast over coals." In turn, that came from a 13th century verb that meant “to pass a flame over the keel of a boat in order to melt the pitch and improve waterproofing.” Ancient methods of waterproofing included bitumen, wax mixed with moss, and resin, so bringing a flame near the keel would melt the caulking material, thus spreading it more deeply into the cracks and joints. If I brought a firebrand that close to a wooden boat, I’d have a scapho-conflagration.

If you go to this web site, you’ll find some recipes from Mario Batali that give variations on bruschetta: white bean bruschettta, ceci bean bruschetta, tomato basil bruschetta, and mackerel bruschetta, among others.

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