Bruschetta with Slow Roasted Grape Tomatoes, Parmesan, Garlic and Basil

One of the many things I love about living in Florida is home-grown grape tomatoes in the middle of February. This crop was given to us by William, our handyman. He has the greenest fingers of anyone I know! He regularly surprises us with crops of delicious fruit and vegetables from his back-yard. To say he is a blessing in our lives would be an understatement! This latest batch of tomatoes I slow roasted and served along with a buttery garlic parmesan Bruschetta for one of our bridge evenings. You can roast the tomatoes in advance and have them not only with Bruschetta but salads, meats or do what I do, simply enjoy them on their own.

BRUSCHETTA WITH SLOW ROASTED GRAPE TOMATOES, GARLIC, PARMESAN AND BASIL

Ingredients for the tomatoes part:
1 lb of grape tomatoes – you can make less but keep in mind: they shrink and they go so well in salads, you’ll thank me for encouraging you to make large batch
½ cup of olive oil
½ tsp of dried thyme – you want a hint of thyme flavor, nothing overwhelming
1 clove of garlic pressed
2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar – my favorite is Lucini Fig Infused Balsamic or my Dark Cherry Vinaigrette
¼ tsp of salt

Ingredients for the Bruschetta:
½ cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter at room temperature
2 pressed garlic cloves
2 tbsp of chopped fresh basil
¼ tsp of salt
¾ cups of grated parmesan cheese
1 French baguette

Instructions for the tomatoes:
Pre-heat the oven to 250°F
Slice the grape tomatoes and let them drain in a colander for about 20 minutes, sprinkled with a little salt
Combine the oil, garlic, thyme, vinegar and salt – Mix well
Put the tomatoes in a bowl, pour over the oil mixture and toss to coat the tomatoes with the oil mixture
Place the tomatoes in a shallow oven dish, fairly spread out
If you don’t have a large oven roasting dish to accommodate them, make sure you stir, toss and turn the tomatoes throughout the roasting time
Place the tomatoes in the oven center shelf for two hours
After this time, check regularly for done-ness
If they are too watery, pour out some of the liquid and put them back in the oven for 15 minutes at a time, checking and stirring until they are nicely roasted, but not dried out or burnt
Take out of the oven and let them cool down

Instructions for the Bruschetta:
Pre-heat the oven to 375°F
In a bowl, with a rubber spatula, mash together the butter, basil, salt and garlic
Split the baguette lengthwise
Spread the butter mixture on each baguette half, sliced side, including the edges
Sprinkle the buttered slices evenly with parmesan cheese
Place the baguette halves, prepared side up, on a baking sheet
Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is nicely browned
When they are done, place the toasted halves on a chopping board
Slice them diagonally and place them on a serving dish
Top with slow roasted tomatoes

Notes:
The buttered baguette slices can be prepared without roasting about 5 hours ahead of time – simply cover with wrap and chill. Bring to room temperature before baking.
The tomatoes can be made a couple of days ahead of time and stored in the fridge.The tomatoes are also great with sliced mozarella on the side. Drain, dry and slice the mozzarella. Sprinkle with pepper and fresh chopped basil. Drizzle with olive oil.

© 2014-2015 Caroline’s Family Kitchen and CarolinesFamilyKitchen.com

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