In recent years,one of the most popular hors d'oeuvres is the Roman garlic bread called bruschetta (broo sket ta;plural: bruschette, pronounced broo sket teh). Bruschetta,in its most basic form, is a slice of Italian bread that is toasted, rubbed with crushed garlic, and drizzled with olive oil.When made with good bread and extra-virgin olive oil, this simple hors d'oeuvre is good on its own. But it is no doubt the variety of toppings that can be served on this garlic-bread base that accounts for its popularity.

Perhaps the best-known topping is a seasoned mixture of diced fresh tomatoes and olive oil, but this is far from the only possibility. Meats, cheeses, cooked dried beans, and raw and cooked vegetables are all appropriate. In fact, the bruschetta is a type of antipasto, and many of the items listed in the preceding section may also be served as bruschetta topping. Several variations are included among the recipes in this chapter.

Bruschette are similar to canapés in that they are toast with topping. However, they are larger and heartier than typical canapés and can be served as the appetizer course of a dinner.

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