A few classic ingredients come together to sing the praises of summer abundance.
3 medium tomatoes, diced to about 1/4 inch, seeds and juicy pulp removed (about 2 cups diced)
2 medium cloves garlic, minced; plus one large clove of garlic, left whole
About a half a cup of olive oil (you won't use all of it)
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar
Salt to taste
1 French baguette
A hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1. Combine the tomatoes, minced garlic, 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, the parsley and the vinegar in a bowl. Stir in a couple of pinches of salt. Allow the mixture to sit while you prepare the crostini.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the baguette diagonally into about 15-20 rounds about 1/2-inch thick each. You may not use the whole baguette, depending on how long it was to start with.
3. Lay the rounds in one layer on a rimmed cookie sheet and put them in the oven for about 5 minutes, until they are lightly toasted. Flip them over to the other side and continue toasting them until they are lightly toasted on the second side, about 3 more minutes. While the slices are toasting, pour about 4 Tablespoons of olive oil into a small dish and locate a pastry brush, so you will be ready when the crostini come out of the oven.
4. When the crostini are lightly toasted, remove them from the oven and quickly brush them each with olive oil. This must be done quickly while they are still hot, otherwise they become unpleasantly dried out.
5. Peel the remaining clove of garlic and rub it onto each of the crostini. As you do this, you will notice that the clove gets smaller and smaller as a bit of it is left behind on each crostini.
6. Taste the tomato mixture and add a bit more salt if needed (it should taste deliciously tomato-ey, but not salty).
7. Arrange the crostini on a serving platter and lay one basil leaf on each one. Use a spoon to carefully spoon a mound of tomatoes onto each crostini.
8. Use a vegetable peeler to shave long pieces of the cheese onto a separate plate. Use your fingers to garnish the top of each crostini with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.
9. The Tomato-Basil Crostini are ready!