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Pesto bruschetta is an appetizer of grilled or toasted crispy bread slices featuring a base topping spread made with herbs, olive oil, and cheeses. The best pesto bruschetta starts with the selection of the right type of bread. Preparing the dish requires a coordination of ingredients, management of cooking, and a quick serving time.
Crispy, rustic style bread in a long loaf is the best for making pesto bruschetta. The bread should feature a harder exterior with a softer center. Palm-sized slices can be cut from the loaf using a sharp kitchen knife. A thin layer of olive oil can be lightly brushed onto the bread slices for them to marinate while the other ingredients are arranged.
The pesto bruschetta is customizable through additional toppings that utilize pantry ingredients or personal preference. Shredded cheeses, diced tomatoes, and sliced olives are common toppings. Other potential toppings include asparagus, crispy bacon, and jalapeños.
Grilling or toasting the bruschetta requires an organized work area. Toppings can be separated ahead of time into small bowls, then lined up near the cooking device. The toppings will need to be added quickly, with the pesto layer first, so that the bread can go back to the heat source. An outdoor gas or charcoal grill makes the most authentic pesto bruschetta, but a toaster oven or countertop electric grill can also perform the task. The bread should be cooked at medium heat in small batches of five or six to prevent burning. Bread slices should be cooked until browned, flipped, and then browned on the other side.
Toppings should be added to one side of each toasted bread slice, starting with a thinly spread layer of pesto and building up to shredded cheese. The slices with toppings are then placed back on the heat source until any cheese has started to melt. This adheres the toppings together, helping to prevent a mess while eating.
The pesto bruschetta should be served while the slices are still warm, as the bread can become tougher as it cools. It may be necessary for one plate of appetizers to be served before another round of bread slices is cooked. If guests will be eating the pesto bruschetta while standing, include small plates for the bread. A few toppings may drop off while eating and the plate allows that food to be saved from falling onto a napkin and then the ground.
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