A piece of toast by itself might seem a little plain and a desperate, bottom-of-the-barrel attempt to find something in the house to eat, but a delicious piece of toasted or fried bread topped with any number of ingredients can be inventive and frankly, very inviting. “Would you like a piece of toast?”, after all, is a much different question than “Would you like a white bean toast with burst grape tomatoes and pancetta?” The most important part of course is the toast itself. Pick the best bread you can find and think about how it will go with the ingredients that you choose to put on top. It needs to be strong enough to support the ingredients and have a flavor that will compliment the toppings, rather than take away from them.
This hearty toast combines the crunch and chew of Italian ciabatta bread with a hearty bean spread and the tang and saltiness of the tomatoes and pancetta. The rosemary adds a woodsy note too, making me feel like I should be eating this in front of a fire crackling away in the corner of the room. All the ingredients are classic Italian combinations and this toast is in fact hearty enough to be a first course or even a light dinner (if you use a large slice of bread) served with a side salad.