What you need:
2-3 cups ripe tomatoes (cherry, grape, roma, and some heirloom are ideal), diced
1-2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed through a mincer
1 clove garlic, peeled and left whole
10-15 basil leaves, julienned (see photo above- stack leaves, roll like a cigar, and slice thinly)
1 cup cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
3-4 tablespoons olive oil, separated
salt and pepper, to taste
goat cheese (optional)
What to do:
In a medium bowl, combine diced tomatoes, pressed garlic, basil, cannellini beans, and about 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (go lighter at first--you can add more later if you need to). Season with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.
Preheat the broiler and slice your baguette (on the diagonal will give you a little more surface area to balance your bruschetta upon). Layer the bread on a cookie sheet and toast under the broiler until the edges brown and the bread becomes fragrant. Remove from the oven and flip each slice over. Toast the second side. (This side will NOT take as long as the first side--so keep you eye on it!)
Pour 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small dish. With a fork, spear your remaining whole garlic clove; dip the garlic into the oil and while the bread is still warm from the oven, rub/scrape the garlic clove over one side of each toast.
I always serve my tomato mixture separate from the baguette toasts. I find that if I assemble the bites too early (depending on the juiciness of the tomatoes) the bread can get soggy before people can enjoy it. In addition, I always place a small dish of soft goat cheese on the side of the baguette and encourage guests to first spread goat cheese on the toast and then to top with the bruschetta. The creaminess of the goat cheese and the cannellini beans are the secrets to the success of this crowd-pleaser.