Use Your Cast Iron Skillet To Take Your Bruschetta To The Next Level

tomato bruschetta on a wood cutting board
tomato bruschetta on a wood cutting board - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Bruschetta is a classic, delicious appetizer that's beloved as much for its textural contrast as for its burst of fresh, earthy flavors. Typically, we use an oven to achieve the contrast of crispy toasted bread to the juicy, tender toppings we spoon over each slice. However, you can use your stove and a cast iron skillet for both components to take your bruschetta to the next level.

When making cast iron skillet bruschetta, we like to saute fresh grape tomatoes and garlic in olive oil until the tomatoes transform into chunky, aromatic crushed tomatoes. Then, after removing the tomatoes from the pan, drizzle olive oil in the skillet to toast the bread. The cast iron skillet transforms a fresh topping into a richer, more aromatic version of itself while also infusing the foundation for skillet-fried bread.

The cast iron skillet is a popular tool for creating crunchy, charred edges on bread as evidenced by skillet cornbread and pan-fried toast. Heating an infused fat like oil or butter in a cast iron skillet crisps up the outside while also providing a flavorful infusion to keep the crumb moist and buttery. You can use the cast iron skillet to upgrade any bruschetta recipe you have in mind, whether you want cooked or fresh toppings.

Read more: The 20 Best Olive Oils For Cooking

Cast Iron Skillet Bruschetta: Tips And Variations

iron skillets with tomatoes and bread
iron skillets with tomatoes and bread - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

As a toasted bread with a juicy topping, bruschetta is a great recipe for repurposing stale bread. The best bread for bruschetta is sturdy, crusty bread like sourdough, ciabatta, or a baguette that's had a day or two to dry out for maximum flavor absorption in the skillet.

A classic tomato bruschetta uses fresh tomatoes and basil to adorn bread toasted with a drizzle of olive oil. If you want to go the classic route, you can brush both sides of each slice of bread with olive oil before pan-toasting it on a cast iron skillet over medium heat. You can create a flavorful foundation without cooking the tomatoes by infusing olive oil with aromatic flavors. Simply fry garlic, onions, or shallots in the cast iron skillet, remove them with a slotted spoon, and use the oil to fry the bread.

Conversely you can use heartier toppings to infuse cast iron skillet bruschetta. Fry meaty, umami-rich portobello or oyster mushrooms with garlic and cracked pepper for an earthy, savory oil for your bread. For a summery, sweet and savory bruschetta, you can fry peach slices and tomatoes in the skillet before adding crusty bread, finishing with salty shaved parmesan to round out the flavor profile. Fry pancetta or strips of steak in butter to infuse the bruschetta toast with rich savory notes, using the meat as a topping with a slathering of gooey brie and hot honey drizzle.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.