I decided to take bruschetta a level up by cooking it and serving it hot. Beautifully toasted crusty garlic bread, topped with roasted tomatoes and a deliciously sweet, sour balsamic glaze. A quick, easy and exciting appetiser to wow just about anyone.
I am so happy that this idea of having a cooked version of bruschetta actually worked. And I am starting to wonder if I prefer this version of bruschetta more than the original.
When you get served a classic bruschetta in a restaurant, do you find yourself struggling to keep the tomato on the bread? I know I do, not that it’s the end of the world, but roasted cherry tomatoes stay on top of that sucker a whole lot easier. And with each bite, a cherry tomato will be like a little flavour bomb going off in your mouth.
Reducing balsamic vinegar
A balsamic reduction may not sound like the most exciting thing in the world, but it actually completely transforms the vinegar into a glaze. Meaning that the sugars intensify and texture goes thicker, which gives you a much better result when drizzling it over your bruschetta. Oh, and a balsamic reduction can also be used as an amazing garnish.
Normal balsamic vinegar that hasn’t been reduced is fine as well, but if you use too much it will just splash everywhere and it can even make the bread go soggy. Besides, the tomato and the onions are already acidic in this dish, and the sweet glaze can balance that out.
That being said, you don’t want to reduce the balsamic vinegar too much, I would say no more than 60%. Otherwise, it can go too sweet, but also keep in mind that as the balsamic reduction cools down, it will go even thicker. So don’t make the mistake of reducing the vinegar for too long because it doesn’t look thick enough right away.
If you want to test the thickness of the balsamic glaze, dip a spoon into it. The glaze should be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.
Storing the balsamic reduction in a squeeze bottle works perfectly. If you have any left over, you can keep it in the fridge for later use.
Why did I soak the red onion in vinegar?
This is a technique I love to use when preparing onions, especially when I add them to something like a fresh salad. Raw onion can be way too strong and in my opinion, be an interference more so than an added ingredient.
What the vinegar and a touch of salt do, is they draw out some of that strength and also make the onions go nice and sweet. Which goes perfectly with the roasted tomatoes and crusty bread. When you’re done soaking the onions and you’re ready to drain them, don’t forget to really squeeze that excess moisture out of the onions. This will help you achieve that really nice, sweet, softened onion.
Buy a good quality loaf of bread
Remember, this isn’t your everyday jam on toast, this is something a little extra special. And if the base of the dish is poor quality, well, it will show in the end result. I find that a good loaf of sourdough bread is perfect for bruschetta.
It has that perfect crunch in the crust, and that freshness in the middle. You can use a different kind of bread if you wish but again, use a decent quality loaf, not one of those everyday square loaves.
Oh, and if you want to be extra healthy, you can use something like brown bread or multi-grain bread.
You don’t have to use butter
You can use a healthier fat if you wish, just keep in mind that the flavour will be lighter and less rich than butter. If you use let’s say, grape-seed oil (one of my favourite versatile light healthy oils), you’ll end up with more of a garlic perfume essence instead of a rich buttery flavour. Both are great but just different.
This is also a good tip if you want to make the recipe vegan because if that is the case, changing the fat for the garlic bread is the only thing you need to do.
Now, let’s move on to the recipe, shall we! If you want to stay updated for a new recipe every week, feel free to subscribe, you will also receive a free ebook that features 10 amazing recipes. And if you were looking for more appetizers, then you may want to have a look at these Vietnamese Spring Rolls.
Roasted Cherry Tomato & Garlic Bread Bruschetta with Balsamic Glaze
- ¾ cup of balsamic vinegar
- 1 large red onion peeled and finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil plus extra for roasting the cherry tomatoes
- 75 g butter
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 loaf of sourdough sliced
- 500 g cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 bunch of basil
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
Put the balsamic vinegar in a pot, then bring it to a boil over the stove. Once the vinegar is boiling, turn the heat down low and simmer the vinegar until it reduces by half.
You can dip a spoon in the reduction. If the vinegar coats the back of the spoon, that is a good indicator that the glaze is thick enough. If you want you can transfer the glaze to a squeeze bottle or you can just store it away in a container until it's time to use it.
- Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees F).
Put your chopped red onions in a bowl, then add your red wine vinegar, your olive oil and then season with salt and pepper. Mix together and then set aside.
Put your butter and garlic in a small pan, then melt the butter over medium-high heat. Once the butter starts bubbling, turn the heat down low and let the butter simmer for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and then set aside as the garlic gets infused in the butter.
Pre-heat a griddle pan over medium to high heat, then place your slices of bread in. Toast the bread both sides until you get a nice colour. Once the bread is toasted, use a pastry brush to brush the garlic infused butter over one side of the bread.
Drain the onions through a sieve, then push the onions down with the back of a spoon to get rid of the excess liquid. Transfer onto a piece of kitchen paper to drain.
Put your cherry tomatoes in a bowl, season them with some salt and pepper, then drizzle in a touch of olive oil. Mix together and then put them on a tray lined with baking paper, making sure you spread the tomatoes out evenly. Roast them in the oven for 10 minutes.
Put the roasted cherry tomatoes and the red onion to a bowl and mix together until well combined.
Spoon your tomato mixture over your garlic bread then lightly drizzle over some of your balsamic glaze.
Finally, garnish the bruschetta with plenty of basil and serve.
- Don't reduce the balsamic glaze anymore than around 60%. Otherwise, it can be a bit too thick and overpowering.
- You can make plenty of balsamic vinegar for future use and then store it in a squeeze bottle.
- Once you've soaked your onions, make sure you really squeeze the excess moisture out to get rid of the intense heat in the onion.
- But a good quality, crusty loaf of bread for this recipe.
- Remember, if you want a healthier fat or oil. Or if you want to make this recipe vegan, you can use a different kind of fat. Such as canola oil, grape seed oil, vegetable oil, nut oil etc.