When we have friends over for dinner sometimes I serve bruschetta first - while I'm getting the rest of the dinner ready. Invariably I prefer grilling, rather than toasting, the bread - it adds richer flavors of char and makes the toast more rustic and interesting. I like it so much that I've even proposed making it when there is nothing else to grill (this elicits a squinty head-shake from my wife which translates to,... don't.)
Our friends A. and N., who live in Rome, a few New Year's ago, taught me how it's done. Slice a good French or Italian style bread into pieces about 1/3" thick. The slices will burn quickly, so get ready to turn them and remove them moments after putting them on the grill. Then, immediately rub a whole clove of (peeled) garlic across one side of each piece of toast - don't overdo the garlic!
Then, the options are rather limitless.
For a different spin on garlic bread, just drizzle some olive oil onto each piece and voilà.
Or, recently, I made a version with fresh ricotta that maybe I've had in a few restaurants. For this one, I mixed (ie. stirred vigorously) a cup or two of fresh ricotta with about a 1/4 cup of sgrated parmesan, some extra virgin olive oil, a tiny amount of minced garlic (optional), salt, pepper, and thinly sliced basil (aka chiffonade). Each of the ingredients should be added to taste so that in the end, all of the flavors are present but none are overstated.
Feel free comment/share your favorite bruschetta toppings!