I first had bruschetta on a trip to Italy Josh and I took when we were in college. As an architecture major, Josh was totally into all the buildings and art, and as a beginning foodie, I was in heaven with the food-it was a great trip (and it's a good thing-because we used student loans to go, and are likely still paying for it).
We backpacked to several different cities-Rome, Florence, Siena, Pisa, Venice, Verona, and Cinque Terre-and I ate my way through all of them. In Rome, we stayed with an older woman named Rosanna who ran a bed and breakfast out of her apartment. She would serve bruschetta for breakfast along with the most unprecedentedly delish fresh pastries she would pick up every morning. I told Josh to take my picture at her breakfast table because it was my most favorite place in Italy. Although we had been married for a year, this was probably a turning point to him realizing just how abnormal his wife really is.
Ever since coming home from Italy, bruschetta has been one of our favorite foods, and we make it all summer long. But it wasn't until I saw the movie Julie and Julia, that I realized I had really been missing out. I went to see it in the theater with my sister-in-law, Michelle-and during the part when Julie is frying bread over the stove to make bruschetta, Michelle and I looked at each other with a, "WHAT THE....!" Here I had been, unexcitingly toasting my slices of bread under the broiler with a drizzle of olive oil, when obviously the flavor would be 100 times better fried. I got up at 6 am the next morning to try it (I should note that I was pregnant at the time), and I've never made them another way since.
6 medium slices crusty bread
4 Tablespoons olive oil
4 Tablespoons butter
4 medium sized ripe tomatoes
6 basil leaves
Salt to taste
For the bread:
Heat 2 Tablespoons each of the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium low heat. When the butter sizzles, it's ready for the bread. Fry slices 3 at a time until golden brown, 1-3 minutes per side. Repeat with the second batch.
For the topping:
Dice tomatoes into small pieces, and put into a small mixing bowl. To julienne the basil leaves, stack them together, then roll them up, and slice thinly down the roll. Add to the tomatoes, and mix together. Add salt to taste.
When ready to serve, top the bread slices with the tomato mixture.