The best thing about this time of year in Texas are all the gorgeous tomatoes ripe from the garden. If you know anything about me…or about reading this blog…you know we love tomatoes. And with that I am always looking for ways to help them shine, no matter how simple or difficult, as these little beauties deserve to be placed in the spot light of any recipe. One of the simplest ways to help them shine, is by not doing much at all to them. I had a loaf of super crusty bread and some great olive oil in the house, along with some herb goat cheese and basil from our garden, enough in my opinion to make a simple appetizer that tasted like a million. Use any kind of tomatoes you like, I like the green zebra, Cherokee purple and vintage wine tomatoes personally, but whatever you can find at the store is great….a nice mix of colors also makes the appetizer pop.
Heirloom Tomato Toasts
4 heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch slices – save the tops and the ends
3 – 6 thick slices of crusty white bread (depending on how big your slices are…we had 3 large slices so it was enough for our appetizers)
3 ounces herb goat cheese, softened
pinch red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh basil, torn
1/2 lemon, optional
salt and pepper
Lightly brush one side of the bread with olive oil and place on a hot grill for about 30 seconds until it starts to barely char. When it is still warm, rub one of the ends of the tomatoes (either the top or bottom) onto the bread to extract some of the tomato flavor on to the bread. Spread each slice of bread with about an ounce of goat cheese (or 1/2 ounce if using 6 slices) then layer tomatoes, each barely overlapping the other, onto the bread, varying the colors as you go. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, salt and freshly ground black pepper then drizzle lightly with olive oil. Slice each piece on the diagonal into 2 inch pieces, then squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice on each toast for a bit of brightness and scatter on the basil to finish.
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