Roasting tomatoes are a killer way to make great use of summer’s crop. They're like sweet, chewy dinner candy, awesome with pastas, eggs, salads and sandwiches. Today we’re serving them up on a cross between an open-faced sandwich and a size XL Italian bruschetta - a mega bruschetta.
This is a straight pileup of Italian flavors - roasted cherry tomatoes, prosciutto, black olives, arugula, balsamic, basil, and a Tuscan-style white bean spread, all layered on thick crusty toast. This is not finger food. Do not pass on dainty little trays over a white carpet at your next cocktail party. There will be spillage.
Instead, serve these as a knife-and-fork kinda starter or even as a main course, paired with a big green salad and maybe some roasted chicken if you're feeling extra hungry. Whatever you do, don't skimp on the roasted tomatoes. Make a double batch and thank me later.
Yield: 4-6 as starter or light main
Prep Time: 15 min Cook Time: 40 min Total Time: 45 min
1 lb / 450g cherry tomatoes, halved
5 sprigs fresh thyme
3 Tbs olive oil plus extra for drizzling
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
14 oz / 400g can white beans, drained and rinsed
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tsp sugar
8-10 large slices crusty bread (larger than a baguette)
handful fresh arugula
8 black olives, pitted and slivered
6 strips prosciutto, torn
6 basil leaves, sliced into thin ribbons
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350F / 180C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scatter cherry tomato halves and 3 sprigs of thyme over pan, then toss gently with a glug of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, til cherry tomatoes begin to shrivel. Remove from oven, then turn up heat to 425F / 220C for toasting the bread.
Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat another glug of olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes plus a pinch of salt. Cook until shallots are soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add white beans, remaining thyme and ¼ cup water. After about 2 minutes, mash beans with back of spatula into a rough spread. Cook another minute to thicken the mixture then turn off heat. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
In a small saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar and sugar to a boil. Reduce until syrupy, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
Lay bread sliced on a baking sheet. In 425F / 220C oven, toast bread til browned on the edges, about 8 minutes. Drizzle each slice with olive oil.
To assemble, spread some white bean mixture on toast. Top with arugula leaves, a few tomatoes, and olive slivers. Layer on some torn prosciutto, then drizzle with balsamic and top with basil.