If you’re looking for an appetizer or light meal you can prep far in advance, look no further. This bruschetta board with marinated mozzarella and eggplant, tomato salad, prosciutto, tapenade, pesto and cheese is the perfect make-ahead antipasto.
What is bruschetta?
Bruschetta (pronounced broo-ske-ta) is a classic Italian appetizer consisting of grilled bread served with a variety of toppings. Most often it’s served with tomato but mozzarella, vegetables and cured meats are also used.
For this board, I like adding a variety of dishes to make it easy to customize your bruschetta to your own preference. I made a simple tomato salad with red onion and basil, the best marinated eggplant and marinated mozzarella. I added store-bought basil pesto (but feel free to make your own) as well as olive tapenade. Prosciutto, ripe tomatoes, olives and a soft goat’s cheese are all good additions.
- Bread. The best bread to use for bruschetta is Ciabatta. Although not traditional, French baguette slices can also be used.
- Olive oil.
- Fresh garlic cloves.
- Cured meat. I used prosciutto but Coppa and salami are good alternatives.
- Cheese. I used a soft goat’s cheese and marinated mozzarella. Slices of Provolone or soft gorgonzola are also good ideas.
- Vegetables. Marinated eggplant, tomato salad, fresh tomatoes, olives and capers.
- Spreads and sauces. Basil pesto and olive tapenade add extra flavor.
How to make bruschetta
- Make the marinated eggplant and mozzarella: Follow recipe instructions for the eggplant and mozzarella. I used fresh mozzarella that I sliced before marinating. [Marinated mozzarella recipe] [Marinated eggplant recipe] The eggplant and mozzarella can be prepared a few days in advance.
- Make the tomato salad: Using a sharp knife, finely dice the tomatoes. Place in a medium bowl. Finely chop the red onion and basil then add to the tomatoes. Dress with extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar (you can use Balsamic vinegar too) and a generous pinch of salt and black pepper. Mix then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Set aside. The tomato salad can be made a few hours before serving and kept in the refrigerator – only add the salt up to 30 minutes before serving.
- Grill the bread: Slice ciabatta bread into slices. Drizzle each slice with olive oil then toast in a grill pan for a few minutes per side until golden brown and toasted. Rub the bread slices with a halved clove of garlic. The toasted bread can be made a few hours in advance and kept in an airtight container. Reheat in a hot oven on a baking sheet for 5 minutes before serving.
- Assemble the bruschetta board: Place the grilled bread on a large serving board or tray. Transfer the pesto and tapenade to small bowls. Place the marinated eggplant and mozzarella on the board then add the prosciutto, goat’s cheese and cherry tomatoes. Transfer the tomato mixture to a serving dish and add to the board. Add olives and capers then finish with fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately.