Monday, July 21, 2008

Oven Roasted Tomato Bruschetta (on Focaccia)

Surprisingly we're still doing the vegetarian thing, though now we're calling it the "no red meat thing", because every once in awhile (usually on Sundays, for barbecuing) we eat chicken. I don't miss it though, especially when there are so many fabulous tasting meatless meals to enjoy.

This bruschetta is a perfect example. Not like typical bruschetta, which is made with raw tomatoes and usually served on a more crusty bread, this bruschetta is made with "candied" tomatoes piled high on soft, toasted focaccia with mozzarella and fresh basil from the garden. It's a nice twist on the old standard. Additionally, these tomatoes would be fabulous in paninis, and for that reason I'll indicate their preparation separately from the entire dish. My grade for the bruschetta: B+

Oven Roasted Tomatoes
Several ripe Roma tomatoes, seeded and cored
Good balsamic vinegar
Good olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

Take the prepared tomatoes and lay them out on a cookie sheet. Drizzle as liberally as you like with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour.

When finished, chill and then set aside. Reserve some if you like for a jar. These last awhile in your fridge.

Oven Roasted Tomato Bruschetta (on focaccia)
One loaf store-bought focaccia (I use Trader Joe's)
Olive oil
Reserved oven roasted tomatoes (chilled)
12 - 15 leaves fresh sweet basil
Buffalo mozzarella, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced

I realize I don't have exact measurements here, and that's because I like a lot of basil and a little less mozzarella. I often omit the butter (though I like the taste it imparts). Prepare according to your proclivities.

Slice focaccia about 1/2 inch in thickness. Lay on cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Add a little bit of butter to each slide if you like. Broil on hi for approximately 5 minutes. Watch closely; they toast quickly and can burn. When finished, set aside.

Grab your oven-roasted tomatoes, now chilled, and if you like, add some garlic. If they need some more balsamic, add conservatively. Slice sweet basil in long thin strips. Arrange mozzarella on top of toasted focaccia, and then add tomato mixture and basil. Serve immediately.

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