This classic appetizer is simple and delicious. The secret is to grill the bread then rub it with garlic as soon as it comes off the grill. The garlic melts into the warm bread and leaves a subtle and not overpowering garlic flavor.
1 1b mixed cherry tomatoes, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 loaf crusty bread, cut into 1/2 - inch thick slices
3 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup arugula
Halve the small tomatoes and quarter the large ones. Add tomatoes to a medium bowl with a generous pinch of salt, a few grinds of fresh black pepper, 2 tablespoon of the olive oil and the basil. Stir and let sit 10 minutes.
Heat a grill pan over medium heat (or use an outdoor grill set to medium). Drizzle bread slices with remaining olive oil then grill 2 to 3 minutes on each side until warmed though and grill marks appear.
Remove bread then lightly rub one side with garlic - two to three strokes per bread slice should do it.
Stir tomatoes one more time, taste and adjust with more salt or pepper as needed. Spoon a generous amount of the tomato mixture onto each bread slice. Top with crumbled goat cheese and arugula. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately.
Mixed cherry tomatoes are available year round and are great in this dish. During the summer, try using home grown or farmer's market heirloom tomatoes.