Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Roasted Tomato and Ricotta Bruschetta

Roasted Tomato and Ricotta Bruschetta

Yesterday, I wrote about our neighborhood's amazing new bakery, Bread Furst. I've been bringing home samples of their bread every couple days, which means I had to find things to do with it (other than just eat it immediately, which was so tempting). So, of course, one of the things I did was make toast.

Kitchen shears make fast work of chopping (or rather snipping) fresh chives.

Toast is apparently "hot" right now, which might seem strange until you realize that toast offers a lot of wonderful possibilities. You can top it with just about anything, from basic butter or jam to layers of savory goodness.

With a loaf of Bread Furst's dense, flavorful whole grain bread, I decided to make bruschetta, an Italian style of toast that involves garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper, sometimes with other toppings. (Please note that bruschetta is NOT a jar of tomato spread, despite what you may find at the grocery store).

Because this bread is so flavorful and tomatoes available this time of year are not, I decided to roast the tomatoes, which can bring out good tomato flavor even during their anemic off-season (tomatoes are best bought locally July through September). I also used fresh ricotta (not homemade this time) and fresh chives from my herb garden.

Roasted Tomato and Ricotta Bruschetta

7-8 plum tomatoes, quartered
2 tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5-6 slices of thick, crusty bread (I used a whole grain bread, but you could substitute other types)
3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese, softened (you can soften it in the microwave for about 20 to 30 seconds at 50% power)
2 tbsp. fresh chopped chives

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Add the tomatoes to a roasting pan, drizzle with 1 tbsp. of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss with a wooden spoon to coat the tomato pieces. Roast in the hot oven for about 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit, then mash the tomatoes with the wooden spoon until they have a chunky sauce-like consistency.

2. Preheat the oven broiler. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet. Brush or spray with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Broil until the tops of the bread slices are lightly toasted, about 2 minutes, watching carefully to make sure they don't burn.

3. Transfer the toasted bread to a serving plate. Mix the softened ricotta cheese with freshly ground black pepper and spread the cheese on each slice of bread. Then top each piece of bread with a generous spoonful of roasted tomatoes. Sprinkle with fresh chives and serve.

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