I dedicated an entire post to little ways to enjoy food more, like the Europeans do and mentioned several examples how Italians enjoy food. I also wanted to share an easy recipe inspired by our trips to Italy, and to celebrate the little things in life. A new olive oil company Olivari dedicated this year the “One Year of Little” to recognize and celebrate the “little things” in life that bring us joy and while Olivari makes their olive oil in Portugal from olives collected from different regions of Mediterranean (including Italy), I wanted to dedicate this post to Italy.
If there is one ingredient that is a stable in every Italian kitchen: it’s olive oil.
If there is one characteristics of Italian people, it’s their ability to enjoy life.
Godersi la vita = enjoy life in Italian
One easy way to enjoy a summer day, try my bruschetta recipe, I think you’ll love it. But first – let’s talk about olives and Italians, and let me convince you to learn to enjoy small things in life, just like the Italians do.
Olive oil is consumed in much higher quantities in Italy than in the US. In fact Italians consume ten times more olive oil per person annually than Americans do. Guess what Americans eat ten times more than Italians? Butter. Basically for almost anything you could use butter for, Italians use olive oil. A small way of starting to live healthier is to copy what Italians are doing, and switch butter to olive oil.
Italians love olives for much more than for the olive oil though. When visiting any local food markets in Italy, you can sometimes find wreaths made out of olive tree branches, or my favorite: cutting boards from olive tree wood. Olive oil is also used for many beauty products and the markets are full of beautiful pottery, including bottles for your olive oil. Olives are truly a small wonder that bring so many little ways of enjoyment.
There are many celebrations dedicated to olives in Italy, and I just love how we accidentally on our road trip in Italy ended up finding this spring olive festival in Tuscany to celebrate and get ready for the upcoming olive season.
Tuscany might be far away from you – but you can still experience the taste of Italy with my easy bruschetta recipe. Maybe, you will even pack the bruscetta in a picnic-basket and take a little “road trip” to a local park of field and enjoy a summer lunch outdoors.
Because making just another day special can be just that simple.
Bruschetta with Red Onions and Tomatoes Recipe
One of the ways I mentioned in my post of small ways to enjoy food like the Europeans do was to respect food and reinvent leftovers. One of the foods that Italians never throw away is bread. (Now, with this I want to remind you that when I speak about bread, I speak about rustic bakery bread, and not your typical toast.) Even when the bread if a few days old and already gotten hard, you can cut it in slices and make it a little moist with water and put it in oven for a while, and it will be like freshly baked new bread when you take it out. Or, you can make bruschetta.
Bruscetta is grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Bruscetta is really an antipasto served before dinner, but it is so good, that I can never just have one slice, and I make bruscetta also for summer lunch.
4-10 slices of rustic bread
1/2 cup olive oil
1 garlic glove
1/2 red onion
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 380F/200C.
1. Cut the bread in thin slices. If you have a large bread I usually cut the slices also in half to make it easier to eat smaller slices. You get enough for 4-5 large slices of bread or around 8 small slices of bread from this recipe. If you use a baguette (I recommend sour dough), this probably yields to about 10 slices.
2. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet.
3. Thinly cut the garlic glove in slices and measure the olive oil in a bowl. Add the garlic and mix with the olive oil. Add lemon pepper and salt.
4. Brush the bread slices with the olive oil mix and put the bread in the oven and bake for about 4-5 minutes. You don’t have to use all of the olive oil mix at this point, but be generous.
5. Thinly slice the red onion and place in a separate bowl with balsamic vinegar while the bread is in the oven. Once soaked for a few minutes, add the thin red onion slices the top of the bread, and put the bread slices back to the oven for an additional 4-6 minutes until a little bit golden on the top, or crusty on the sides. The red onions will be softened and will taste sweet.
6. Chop the tomatoes in small cubes and add to the reminding olive oil-garlic mix (you can also add a little more olive oil if wanted). Mince basil and add to the mix.
7. Serve the beads with the tomato-mix in the top. Garnish with extra basil if wanted. Or go ahead, drizzle some more olive oil.
Olivari Olive Oil is celebrating “One Year of Little”. Visit their Facebook page to learn why the little things are everything.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Olivari . The opinions and text are all mine.