There are few dishes more elemental and satisfying than bruschetta. A mainstay at many Italian restaurants, it’s an appetizer comprising slices of grilled bread adorned with any number of toppings.

Bruschetta is simple to make, but you need to work with high-quality ingredients for the best results.

Start with a loaf of fresh crusty rustic bread. Brush each slice with your very best extra-virgin olive oil. When the bread comes off the grill, and while it’s still hot, rub one side of each slice with a cut clove of garlic. Then top with a light sprinkling of sea salt.

This recipe spells out two different toppings: a white bean salad with fresh fennel thickened with mashed beans so that the filling sticks to the bread; and a chopped Greek salad.


Start to finish: 25 minutes

Servings: 4

1/3 cup minced red onion

One 15½-ounce can white beans

1/3 cup finely diced fresh fennel or celery

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano

½ teaspoon hot pepper flakes (optional)

Kosher salt

In a bowl of ice and water, soak the onion for 15 minutes, drain and pat dry

Drain and rinse the white beans and pat them dry. In a medium bowl, mash the beans using a potato masher, leaving about half in large pieces and the rest mashed. Add the onion, fennel, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, hot pepper flakes, and salt to taste and stir well. Chill until ready to serve.


Start to finish: 20 minutes

Servings: 4

1 cup coarsely chopped cherry tomatoes

½cup ¼-inch dice seedless cucumber

½ cup finely cubed or crumbled feta

1/3 cup coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata olives

¼ cup chopped pepperoncini

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons shredded fresh basil

Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and stir gently until just combined. Chill until ready to serve.


Start to finish: 10 minutes

Servings: 4

12 slices ½-inch thick rustic bread

Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing the bread

1 garlic clove, halved

Kosher salt

Preheat a grill pan over high heat. Brush both sides of the bread slices with the oil. Add the bread to the preheated grill, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until bread is nicely browned on both sides (about 1 minute a side).

Remove the bread from the pan and, while it’s still hot, rub one side of each slice with a cut clove of garlic, then sprinkle it very lightly with kosher salt.