I love bruschetta.  I find though that many people think of bruschetta as the stuff on top of the bread, when it classically refers to the actual bread itself.  Bruschetta doesn’t have to be topped with that lovely combination of tomato, garlic, basil and whatnot… it just happens to be really tasty that way.  Other possiblities: pear and proscuitto, arugula and white bean spread, olives, salami, whatever your mind can dream up!

The goods:

1 loaf good crusty french bread, sliced diagonally into about half-inch slices.

extra virgin olive oil. LOTS.

whole cloves of garlic, peeled.

The method:

Lay out your slices of bread flat on a baking sheet (or several). Drizzle with oil.

Toast in a 375-degree oven until just beautiful and brown.  Let sit until cool enough to handle.

Take a peeled garlic clove and rub onto your toast.  The rough toast will pulverize the garlic and you’ll basically be “buttering” your toast with pure garlicky goodness.

Sprinkle on a tiny bit of kosher or sea salt, if desired.

Okay, so there you have your basic bruschetta.  Now it’s up to you to decide what toppings you want to play with.  I happen to go with the old tomato mixture standby, punched up with a drizzle of good balsamic vinegar.  But next time?  I’m totally doing pear and prosciutto. =)