1/2 lb. cheese (mozzarella, goat or sheep cheese), optional
1. Toast bread until just before it begins to change color, grilling it on top of the stove or under the broiler. You don't want the bread to look toasted, just cooked enough to make it sort of stiff, stiff enough to stand up to some rubbing.
2. Remove bread from heat and rub garlic halves all over bread.
3. Drizzle bread with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (Add bits of fresh basil, a slice of roast tomato and onion if you like.)
4. Although it is not traditional in Italy, you can top each bruschetta with a slice of cheese and run it under the broiler just until melted.