We’re Cooking: Gorgeous Seasonal Tomato Toasts

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It is not the most original bite we have ever created, but this time of year it is one of the best, as we have to savor every last bite of delicious, sweet, ripe, luscious goodness of this season’s tomatoes.  We are a tomato household…I can eat a tomato like an apple, and try to every day…it is one of my favorite bites in the world, and though I appreciate we are living in a growing society of seasonal chefs, I am sad…as this means these delicious morsels will soon disappear from local menus. So, while you can, grab and enjoy as many as you possibly can.  This fresh, easy and incredibly tasty appetizer, side dish…or heck, main dish if it is just for me, will help.  (The norm for anything with tomatoes is to use basil, and though I love basil, try some other herbs from the garden like rosemary, cilantro, parsley and thyme.) and pair with a gorgeous Rose like a fresh, fruit forward Rhone blend of Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault from Chateau Peyrassol Commanderie.

Recipe:

IMG_8977Rosemary and Thyme Tomato Toasts
Ingredients:
1 whole, peeled garlic clove
3 plump, ripe, beautiful Texas tomatoes…or whatever state you are in, just grab the prettiest ones from your farmers market and enjoy – cut into 1/2 inch chunks, except 1/4 of 1 tomato leave in a slice to rub on the bread
1 5 inch stem fresh rosemary, removed from the stem and chopped fine
6 stems fresh thyme, removed from the stem and chopped fine
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1/2 small shallot, minced
Zest of 1 lemon + 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
pinch paprika
pinch red pepper flakes
High quality, very fresh olive oil
1 small loaf ciabatta bread (we found the small salt and pepper loaves at Whole Foods) or just use half of a large loaf and freeze the rest for another day for making avocado toasts
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
1 teaspoon rose or white wine…just to thin out the cheese a bit (optional)
2 ounces ricotta cheese (optional)

Preparation:
Heat your outdoor grill to medium high, or heat an indoor grill pan – you want to use a grill instead of just toasting the bread as the toasty grill marks add great depth of flavor.  Slice the ciabatta in half and drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Add the shallot, zest and lemon juice, Dijon, vinegar, paprika, red pepper flakes, herbs and a 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper to a bowl. Whisk to combine, then drizzle in 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, continuing to whisk. (I like an even or slightly higher ratio of acid to oil, if you need more oil to your taste add a bit more.) Place the bread cut side down on the grill and grill until nicely toasted, turning once, letting the grill marks set into the bread.  Meanwhile, toss the tomatoes in the vinaigrette. If using the cheese, fold the wine into the ricotta to make it a little easier to spread and give it a bit more flavor.  Season ricotta with 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.  When the bread has toasted rub the inside with the garlic clove, just to get the essence of the garlic flavor into the bread, then rub with the remaining 1/4 tomato slice, again just to get some of the tomato juice into the bread. (Discard the left over garlic and tomato.) Spread a thin layer of the ricotta on each half of the bread and top with a mound of tomatoes. Slice into single portion servings if you like, or just serve and enjoy! Also delicious simply piled on top of a seared ribeye steak with blue cheese crumbles or horseradish sauce or enjoyed in a bowl on their own, with the wine of course.  I do love summer.

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