Call grilled bread ‘bruschetta’ and people feel excited about it, as if it was something sexy and fashionable, a Naomi Campbell among toasts. ‘You’re going to love this dish, it’s so Italian, so honest somehow. Shepherds adore to snack on it under the shadow of olive trees. Sit and eat with us.’ Pause. ‘Share.’
The crusty wheat flour peasant bread is held under one arm and sliced with a blade that unfolds from a bone handle, and then toasted over an open fire of vine trimmings. A clove of garlic is peeled with a deft movement of the fingers and rubbed against the toast, which is then drizzled generously with limpid extra-virgin oil. Plump butter beans are mounded on top with some shredded arugula. A bottle of ancient balsamic vinegar is upended over the bread, part stoppered by a work-calloused thumb which allows a few intensely flavoured drops to burnish the leaves, followed by a final fine spray of shining drops of the deep-green oil. Pure flake sea salt is sprinkled on top. Fine curls of Parmigiano Reggiano are scattered over. All that is needed is a glass of garnet-dark Barolo on the side to complement its simple integrity. There: bruschetta.
‘Hey, let’s eat. You want some toast with butter beans?’ The answer is not recorded.