When you hear the words bruschetta and crostini, you would think they are one and the same. Right? You picture toasted roundlets of bread topped with amazing flavourful goodness. Both are considered Italian antipasto dishes topped with similar ingredients. So, of course, you would assume they are the same. Not so fast! There is a difference between bruschetta and crostini. It comes down to the type of bread you use, and how you prepare it.
Authentic bruschetta starts out by grilling bread, typically a sourdough, over a fire or coals. Grilling the bread creates a wonderfully crunchy, toasty, slightly charcoaled texture and flavour. Once you have the perfect grill marks on the bread, you will rub it with fresh garlic cloves. Then add an extra layer of flavour by drizzling with good quality extra virgin olive oil.
When it comes to topping the grilled bread, one of the favourite combinations is ripe tomatoes, basil, and olive oil. A perfect treat when the summer garden bounties come in. Vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh basil, a dollop of olive oil – no wonder it’s a fan favourite.
Now that you know what bruschetta is and are ready to test your culinary, and artistic creativity, let’s talk about crostini.
The king of the dinner party in the ‘80s! You may think that crostini looks like bruschetta, but there is a difference. This antipasto is made with a baguette type of bread. So, it is smaller and rounder in size than the rustic bread you find used with traditional bruschetta. This is why it is often considered French when in fact it is Italian.
In addition, the bread is sliced into smaller pieces and is toasted in an oven rather than grilled. The smaller and rounder crostini shape makes it the ideal choice for finger foods or appetizers.
When it comes to the toppings, fresh vibrant ingredients are traded for richer combinations. Toppings such as cream cheese, salmon, caviar, smoked meats and prawns are popular. You have endless options like bruschetta, just different ones. Here are just a few favourite recipe ideas to get you started:
Since it is such a fan favourite and open to so many options on toppings, there are endless options for making the perfect starter dish for a party or a lighter dinner on a hot summer night.
How about for brunch, you ask? Well, of course. What a great way to make an easy, tasty treat out of the ordinary. Take a step away from the typical brunch fare of French toast, pancakes, quiches and try something different. Not to say those options are not good, they are! But picture this:
Try topping your crostini with soft scrambled eggs, soft cheese such as ricotta or fontina; add some bacon strips, ham, onions, mushrooms, etc. You could even go with your soft cheese and some preserves, perhaps grilled peach? Let your creative side take over. Whatever you decide, the taste is sure to please your pickiest pallet!
When it comes right down to it, the difference between bruschetta and crostini is all in the bread. Bruschetta is grilled sourdough bread, while crostini is more of a round, baguette-style bread, cooked to a crisp. You can let your taste buds dictate all kinds of tasty treats. Perfect for a light summer dinner, a delectable appetizer for a big party, or as a last-minute snack for unexpected guests.
Hi, I’m Gareth Busby, a baker, bread baking coach and college lecturer. I’m here to help you make better bread and learn about the baking industry.
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