These warm open-faced sandwiches are a staple in Italy. The term comes from the Italian bruscare, meaning "to roast over coals" and the traditional garlic bread is made by rubbing slices of toasted bread with garlic cloves, then drizzling the bread with extra-virgin oil and holding over an open fire. It can be topped with a wide variety of ingredients or simply sprinkled with coarse salt and pepper.
Eight ¼- to ¾-inch slices rustic Italian or French baguette (day-old is fine)
Halved garlic cloves for rubbing
1 plum tomato, cut into ¼-inch dice
2 tablespoons finely chopped, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
Dash of salt, or to taste
3 tablespoons fresh white goat cheese (chèvre)
3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
Position the oven broiler rack to 4 to 5 inches from the heating element; preheat the broiler.
Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Lightly toast under the broiler, about 1 minute per side. The bread should be golden brown and crisp on the outside, chewy and soft on the inside.
Rub one side of each warm slice with cut garlic; the more you rub, the stronger the flavor.
Stir together the plum tomato, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, basil, pepper, and salt in a small bowl.
Spread the bread slices with the goat cheese and top with the tomato mixture; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Broil until the cheese is melted, about 1 ½ minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The bread can be toasted early in the day. The tomato topping will keep for up to 1 day in a covered container in the refrigerator. Bring the topping to room temperature; assemble and broil the bruschetta just before serving.
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