Several weeks ago, I happened to be motoring through St. Helena in the Napa Valley and passed a big green food truck labeled "BRUSCHETTERIA" sitting outside a winery. I stopped, sampled some bruschetta (the 'ch' is pronounced like a 'k') and was pleasantly surprised. This past weekend, this truck was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper. The article reminded me of the experience, so I thought I would tell you about it. FYI, a majority of my blog followers live outside of the US! I find that strange, since my recipes and other info have a distrinctly North American slant, but there you go. My two most popular countries are Brazil and Russia. I haven't a clue why.
You probably know what bruschetta means, but I looked it up and the literal translation from the Italian is "a slice of toasted bread seasoned with garlic and oil". In America, the word seems to be synonymous with an appetizer made from toasted bread topped with chopped tomatoes and garlic, but, just like a sandwich, the variety can be virtually infinite. A bruschetta is, in actuality, nothing more than an open-faced sandwich
It turns out that the same people who own the winery, own the truck and a restaurant, and, according to the article, spend a lot of time in Italy where they get their inpiration. I suspect that most of their bruschetta recipes are nowhere to be found in Italy, but the ones I tried are delicious nonetheless. I also looked up the truck on Yelp.com and found a lot of positive coverage and recipe recommendations. So I encourage you to do the same. If nothing else you will get some great ideas. After all, there isn't any bruschetta that cannot be made at home providing you can find the ingredients.
The owners published a list of five must-dos for creating successful bruschettas, and I repeat them here for those of you who can't access the Chronicle article: If you do have a Chronicle subscription, click here.
1. Choose dense sourdough bread containing only flour, water, starter and salt. Bread with large holes lets the topping fall through.
2. The bread should be slightly stale. Buy it fresh, put it in a paper bag and refrigerate it for 2-3 days. Slice it while cold.
3. Topping ingredients should be chopped fine enough to be manageable. Large chunks will fall off.
4. Toast, fry or grill the unoiled bread slices on both sides until well-browned. Rub one side of the bread slices with a cut clove of garlic then brush both sides with a good olive oil. The topping will go on the garlic-rubbed side.
5. Include a creamy element in the topping such as soft cheese to hold the topping and contrast with the crispy bread.
The Brushetteria truck menu varies daily, but here are a few ideas you might try: