makes four servings of two slices each
5 – 6 Roma tomatoes, (about 1 ½ cups, diced)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
8 to 10 fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
8 slices crusty French or Italian bread
optional: freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino-Romano cheese
Core and quarter the tomatoes. Remove seeds if desired. Drain in a colander for a few minutes to remove excess juice. Place in serving bowl and add 1 of the garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed, the olive oil, vinegar and salt. Add drained tomatoes and mix well. Let stand at room temperature while you prepare the bread slices.
Cut the bread on the diagonal into ½-inch slices. Toast on both sides on the grill, stove or under the broiler until the surface is crispy but the center is still a bit soft. Cut the remaining clove of garlic in half and rub across one side of each slice of toasted bread.
Just before serving, snip the basil into pieces with kitchen shears or cut into ribbons. Arrange bread slices on a platter and divide the tomato mixture evenly on top. Garnish with the fresh basil. Add grated cheese if desired. Serve immediately.
To create basil ribbons (to “chiffonade” the basil) for garnishing the gazpacho or bruschetta, rinse fresh basil leaves and gently pat dry. Stack the leaves on top of each other on a cutting board. Beginning at one of the pointy ends, roll the stack into a tight cylinder. With a sharp knife, carefully cut the roll into thin slices.