The best bruschetta is made with slightly stale, crunchy bread. Cut 12 slices off a large baguette or Italian bread, then leave them out on the counter all day. Once they’re a little stale, they’ll accept the garlic rub without tearing and will also have better tooth when toasted.
- Twelve somewhat stale, ½-inch-thick slices French or Italian bread
- 2 medium garlic cloves, each halved lengthwise
- ¼ cup toasted almond oil, walnut oil, or pecan oil (see Notes)
- 2 ripe Bartlett pears, cored and thinly sliced
- 3 ounces prosciutto crudo or jamon serrano, thinly sliced and then cut into 12 small pieces, each about ¼ ounce
- 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano (see Notes), shaved into thin strips with a vegetable peeler
- 6 tablespoons honey
1. Set the rack in the oven so that it’s 4 to 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the broiler.
2. Rub one side of each bread slice with the cut side of one of the garlic cloves. Don’t press down and tear the bread; rather, lightly rub the garlic onto the bread so that its oils get into the crumb. You’ll notice that the garlic slivers begin to wear down as you rub them on the bread, so use a new one when each gets a little long in the tooth.
3. Drizzle the garlicky side of each bread slice with 1 teaspoon oil.
4. Lay the slices, oil side up, on a large baking sheet or the broiler rack. Toast under the broiler until lightly brown and crunchy, 2 or 3 minutes.
5. Remove the baking sheet or broiler tray from the broiler. Place a few pear slices on each piece of bread; top with a prosciutto slice, draping it over the fruit. Sprinkle some shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano over each piece, then drizzle each bread slice with 1½ teaspoons honey.
6. Optional. Return the sheet or tray to the broiler and continue broiling just until the cheese melts, no more than 1 minute. Don’t let the cheese brown-just let it soften and run a bit. Remove the tray or sheet from the oven and transfer the bruschette to a wire rack to cool for a minute or so (if you leave them on the tray or sheet, they can get soft and gummy from condensing steam underneath).