One of my favorite things about summer is being able to visit the farmers market in my hometown every Saturday with my husband. We are so lucky to be able to take advantage of the delicious produce that is available in our mid-western area. This July has been especially fruitful with tomatoes at the farmers market: heirloom varieties of all shapes, sizes, and colors, grape tomatoes, roma, and huge sandwich varieties. There are many ways to use the humble tomato; one of my favorites recipes marries juicy grape tomatoes with fruity olive oil and home-grown herbs. This recipe is a crowd-pleaser and great for entertaining because not only is it stunningly (is that a word?) beautiful, but it is delicious as well.
- 1 small baguette or other crusty italian bread, sliced and toasted
- 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes (feel free to explore by using yellow and red tomatoes mixed!)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 c. mixed chopped herbs (I like to use thyme, fresh basil, rosemary, parsley, and chives)
- 1/4 c. olive oil (approximately)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 c. shredded Italian cheese or parmesan
- Extra fresh basil for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash tomatoes and place them in a medium size bowl. Top with chopped garlic and herbs.
Drizzle olive oil and mix until each tiny tomato is coated in olive oil and herbs. Hint: Each tomato will glisten. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix once more; if you are feeling spicy you can add a shake of red pepper flakes! Cover and let sit at room temperature or in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Place in one even layer on a baking sheet and roast tomatoes until they start to burst and flatten; approximately 20-30 minutes. This is what concentrates the flavor and elevates them to the next level of deliciousness! Remove tomatoes from oven and return to bowl in which they were marinated.
Spoon mixture onto pieces of crusty italian bread that have been toasted. Sprinkle with italian cheese mixture or parmesan and fresh chopped basil. (Don’t chop your fresh basil ahead because it has the habit of turning brown) I like to serve this with a bottle of red wine and on a white plate so the colors of the tomatoes pop! Enjoy!