The difference between crostini and bruschetta?
Bruschetta and crostini are both antipasti, or little dishes that are served before the meal to stimulate the appetite. Both begin with a piece of bread that is grilled or toasted. So what is the difference?
It is subtle
Bruschetta comes from the Italian word bruscare, which means to roast over the coals. The bread used for bruschetta is typically a wide rustic loaf that is cut into large flat pieces, grilled, rubbed with a garlic clove, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt. The focus is on the bread and the olive oil, although there may be a topping offered. According to Mario Batali bruschetta is always served hot. Today bruschetta is often associated with a basil and tomato topping, although a variety of toppings are possible.
Crostini means "little toasts" and is typically made with a smaller slice of bread, such as a baguette. The toppings are often richer and according to Mario Batali crostini can be served hot or cold.
Try my Peach, goat cheese and grilled onion crostini for a summertime treat.
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Today the two terms are often used interchangeably. Whether you get the terminology right or mix them up, bruschetta and crostini provide a delicious approach to appetizers that can accommodate a variety of seasonal toppings. In my family, we push the envelope further and often eat bruschetta as our main course for a delicious meatless monday meal.
When you make your bruschetta, try the traditional way. Grill slices of rustic bread, rub the slices with a garlic clove while the bread is still hot, and drizzle the slices with a good quality olive oil, and sprinkle with a flakey sea salt. You may find it is so delicious no topping is needed. This is the way they serve bruschetta at Mozza, I believe it is listed as Pane bianco on their menu. A waiter at Mozza once advised me to order this bruschetta, saying "It is the best $4 you will ever spend." He was right.