I am always on the hunt for easy, delicious appetizers to go with a glass of wine or cocktail. When we have guests over (which we would frequently do when entertaining wasn’t discouraged) my goal is to spend as much time with them as possible and not in the kitchen cooking and preparing things. This appetizer is great anytime of the year, but especially good during the summer months when tomatoes are abundant and at their peak. If you are grilling, this easy to make at the grill while you’re outside with friends and family. And, if you have leftover tomatoes (why would you!?) they are great with pasta or fish. For me this is a great example of a mouth full of textures. The sweetness of the tomatoes, the crunch of the toasted bread and flake salt along with the cool and creamy cheese is amazing. The freshness of the basil and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes on top makes it perfect. The other thing I love about this recipe is the way you can customize it based on your preferences and what the rest of your menu is. You could even put the components out and let your guests make their own. I’m a huge fan of topping the bread with ricotta cheese but you can use goat cheese for a bit more punch of flavor if you like. Either way, you can’t go wrong with this easy to prepare and delicious to eat appetizer. Enjoy!
1-pint Cherry tomatoes (multi-color if possible), stems removed and rinsed
1 tbs Olive oil
2 cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
1 French baguette
½ cup Ricotta or goat cheese (whatever your preference is)
Flake salt (I use Maldon)
Fresh basil leaves
In a shallow casserole dish place the tomatoes in a single lager with the garlic and olive oil. Roast at 400 degrees until the tomato skins start to blister and split. Remove the pan and let the tomatoes come to almost room temperature. When you are ready to serve, cut the baguette into slices on a bias and place on a cookie sheet under the broiler to toast. Turn them over and toast on the other side but being careful not to burn. (I’ve walked away from many dishes under the broiler only to realize a minute too late I’ve made a huge mistake!).
Spread a layer of cheese on each piece of toasted bread, spoon two or three tomatoes on top. Roll your basil leaves like a cigar and cut into thin ribbons (otherwise known as a chiffonade). Sprinkle some flake salt (and red pepper if you like some heat) and a few strips of basil on each and serve. Enjoy!!!