Bruschetta – Simple and Fresh
Ristorante/Pizzeria Da Baffone
. . . is a restaurant we’ve been going to as a family for years.
When Jeff, Jackie and Alyssa first arrived in the Naples area, Baffone’s is the first restaurant they went to.
(I happened to be stuck in Norfolk waiting for my visa to arrive. . .)
Baffone’s has been one of our favorites from the very start.
When we arrived in 2006, the girls were 12 and 14 years old.
Baffone’s has a playground and petting zoo!
Although, at 12 and 14, Jackie and Alyssa were too old to be entertained by the playground, the petting zoo held their attention.
Donkeys, horses, chickens, llamas, and an assortment of birds including peacocks.
The summer after Jackie graduated from high school, Alyssa and a couple of her friends (Jade and Courtney) came to stay with us for the summer. During a visit to Baffone’s we sent Jackie and Alyssa off, armed with our camera, to show their friends the petting zoo.
Later, after dropping Jackie and Alyssa off at college, Jeff and I sat down to enjoy the photos taken that summer.
To our surprise there is this gem of a photo of our very own daughter climbing the fence to the petting zoo.
Oh man it’s going to be fun watching Jackie raise her own teenagers some day. Lord, let us live long enough!
always usually so relaxing to go for a leisurely dinner. The bonus was knowing the girls would have plenty to keep them interested.
Even though Alyssa and Jackie no longer live with us, Jeff and I go to Baffone’s often and have developed a friendship with a few of the waiters.
These waiters have kept close track of the various cars cycling through our possession over the years . . .
The status and location of our cars is usually the topic of conversation upon our arrival.
They all want to go for a ride in the American muscle car.
After some automotive back and forth, we usually settle down to order their house red wine and acqua frizzante.
Our favorite menu item is “Antipasto al Italiano.”
It is really not just a dish — it’s more of an “event.”
Baffone’s Antipasto al Italiano is comprised of sliced meats: prosciutto, salami, speck, some simple green olives, a large portion of fresh mozzarella di bufala, a plate full of heavenly fried dough balls with seaweed called “Zeppoline di alghe,” a couple of amazing pieces of the best bruschetta ever, a selection of eggplant, zucchini, and various other vegetables prepared in a variety of ways (we love the roasted vegetables under olive oil).
There’s always a big basket of bread to accompany the antipasti, but we’re careful not to fill up on bread — that’s a rookie mistake.
This delicious and more-than-ample “meal” runs us €10 per person, not including drinks.
But let me rave about the bruschetta because that’s the whole point of this post.
- Tasty, ripe tomatoes, salt, olive oil and some fresh basil.
- Grill slices of bread because an open flame does amazing things to bread.
- Gently rub a garlic clove over the grilled bread.
- Lovingly top the bread with a spoonful of the tomatoes.
- Maybe drizzle a bit more olive oil if you’re feeling sassy . . .
THAT. IS. IT.
Simple and fresh. Just the way it should be.
When you keep it simple, the amazing flavors of the tomatoes and basil shine through.
There’s nothing like it.
I guarantee the cooks in Baffone’s kitchen are not following any recipe for bruschetta.
I think they were born knowing how to make it!
But, to give you an idea of what bruschetta tastes like in our neck of the woods, I’ve put this recipe together.