Crostini or Bruschetta (Italian Toasts)
Makes about 64 crostini or 42 bruschetta
(Can be made in smaller amounts.)
There are some dips and spreads that are better with toasted bread than crackers. Crostini or bruschetta are very easy and quick to make. The difference between the two is that crostini are thinner and toasted, whereas bruschetta are thicker and often grilled, although they may also be toasted. Which you need really depends on the topping or spread you are serving. Juicier toppings definitely require the thicker bruschetta. Crostini are more suitable for thicker spreads or on a buffet with other finger foods. This recipe is basic and can be made in any amount. You might want to add other seasonings. And, although it calls for baguettes, other breads can be used, especially rustic-style breads, whether they are white, multigrain or whole wheat. See the notes below for grilled bruschetta.
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- 2 French bread baguettes, about 3 inches in diameter and 16 inches long (see comments above)
- About 4 tablespoons olive oil (can use an olive oil spray)
- Fresh garlic cloves, halved
Preheat oven to 400° F. Slice the baguettes into 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices for crostini, 1/2 to 3/4-inch for bruschetta. Brush or spray one side with the oil. Place on sheet pans or cookie sheets, oiled side down. Brush or spray the top. Place in oven and bake until lightly browned and toasted, 6 to 10 minutes. (Thicker slices should be baked at a slightly lower temperature, requiring more time until browned.) Halfway through toasting, turn the trays to ensure even toasting and, if desired, flip the slices over to toast both sides. Remove from oven. Rub each piece with the cut side of the garlic halves while toasts are still hot. Use warm or at room temperature. Cooled leftovers can be wrapped in foil and kept at room temperature for several days, then refreshed briefly in the oven before using.
Notes: In a pinch, sprinkle bread with garlic powder before toasting and omit the garlic rub. Bruschetta can be prepared on a grill, in a grill pan or under the broiler. Use the same method, turn the slices when browned and be careful not to burn.