1. Preheat oven to 425F. For crostini, bias-slice the bread into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Lightly brush one side of each bread slice with the olive oil. Lightly sprinkle oiled side of bread with pepper. Bake, uncovered, in the preheated over for 4 minutes. Turn slices over and bake for 3 to 4 minutes more or until crisp and light brown.
2. Fresh Tomato and Olive Topping: In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup seeded and finely chopped tomato (2 medium): 1 cup coarsely chopped assorted pitted ripe olives (such as kalamata, Greek, or Mission); 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion; 2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro or parsley; 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar; and 2 cloves garlic, minced.
3. Shrimp Topping: In a medium bowl stir together 8 ounces peeled and deveined cooked shrimp, chopped; 1 tablespoon olive oil; 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Set aside. Halve 2 large cloves of garlic and rub toasts with cut sides before topping with shrimp mixture.
4. Basil Pesto and White Bean Topping: In a small bowl stir together a 9-ounce container (1 cup) basil pesto; 1 finely chopped hard-cooked egg; and 1 teaspoon lemon juice, sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar. In another small bowl stir together 1/2 of a 19-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans or 1/2 of a 15-ounce can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained (1 cup); 1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion or chopped shallot; 1 tablespoon olive oil; and 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper.
5. Dried Fig and Pistachio Topping: In a medium bowl place 3-ounces cream cheese, 2 ounces fontina or provolone cheese, and 3 ounces goat cheese (chevre) ; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a small bowl stir together 1/4 cup snipped dried figs and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Beat cheese with an electric mixer on low speed until well combined; stir in figs. Serve with 1/4 cup chopped pistachios.
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