Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Foodie Vocabulary: Crostini vs. Bruschetta (Know the Difference?)

Photo Credit: Martha Stewart
In the world of food, there's no shortage of 'foodie jargon'--language that belongs squarely within the culinary spectrum.  But even still, there are times when some of these words get tossed around so loosely, that it can leave even the most devoted foodie with question marks.  One such example is my encounters with the use of the terms crostini and bruschetta.  Seeing them used in what appeared to be almost identical applications, I couldn't quite discern the real difference.  So, while I continued making the delightful bites, the question mark still remained.  Until recently, that is, when I decided to slow down and answer this question once and for all.

Crostini (translated "little toasts" in Italian) is made from thin slices of grilled or toasted bread with toppings.  They are served as appetizers and even as garnishes for soups.  They can be dressed simply with olive oil, salt and pepper and/or herbs or a variety of meats, cheeses, vegetables. 

Bruschetta, on the other hand, is made from thicker slices of bread that are grilled or heated over coals, first being rubbed with garlic cloves and often served charred.  Like crostini, its most basic preparation includes a simple dressing of olive oil and seasonings, but more traditionally it's served with toppings of tomato and basil, and/or a host of other toppings.

So you can see that they really are much more alike than they are different, but alas subtle differences do exist justifying their individuality.  And no matter how you slice it (literally), I love these great bites.

For the road.....

Crostini with Lemon and Oregano 
My favorite way to enjoy crostini is simply toasting or grilling some bread and seasoning with olive oil, salt and pepper.  When I want to "take it up a notch", with no additional fuss, I add a squirt of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of dried oregano.  So good!

Baguette, or other thin bread slices
Olive oil
Juice of a lemon
Dried oregano

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Slice baguette into thin slices.   Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake in the preheated oven for 6-8 minutes until crispy and golden.  Remove from oven, spritz with lemon juice and sprinkle with dried oregano.  Serve warm and enjoy!  

P.S.  What toppings do you like to use?

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