I teleported myself to Italy this week, as a matter of fact I think I may still be there. I’m sure somewhere in the distance I can hear the sound of Carlo Buti playing from an old set of speakers. Surely I am seated right now, at this very moment… in some beautiful stone building, gazing out the open window into a courtyard filled with potted plants and herbs, the magical aroma of roasting tomatoes and garlic wafting up and circling me. While my head spins with the heady scents an elderly couple walks by hand in hand, faintly I can hear two young lovers quarrel somewhere on the next tiny stone street.
Although I have been to Europe, I have never been to Italy. This though, is how I imagine it. Big open aches, stone streets that lead one into circle after circle, completely lost but totally at peace. Oh and of course… the smells.
I’ll get there someday, that I am sure of. For now however – I will turn my tiny kitchen into the Italy of my dreams. Roasting tomatoes, slowly through out the whole day – with garlic, and whatever herbs… creating magic, pure magic.
So now that we are all on the same page, how awesome does slow roasted bruschetta sound? Pretty fan-friggin-tastic if you ask me! It’s a bit too cold in my (Calgary) Italy to really be able to enjoy the typical chilled version. Plus, playing on the aromas of roasting.. well, it’s an obvious win to fill the house with such foodie love. I needed it to be simple, there’s no sense in complicating something that is so full of flavor naturally. Tomatoes, and something a bit different – actually, two things. One, instead of simply rubbing down some (sourdough) bread with raw garlic then toasting it in the oven. I roasted the garlic, a whole head, and spread the gooey amazing delicious cloves all over my toasty slices. Then, instead of the typical basil or oregano, I wanted a bit more punch. A herb that would withstand a slow roasting. Rosemary. Yep, perrrrfection.
Slow Roasted Bruschetta
3 Cups of Cherry Tomatoes
3 Sprigs of Rosemary
Good Quality Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Seedy Organic Sourdough
Balsamic Reduction *Optional but super impressive!
Turn the oven to 300, put about half an inch of water in the bottom of a glass ovenproof dish. Arrange the cherry tomatoes so that as few overlap as possible. Sprinkle with salt and as much fresh ground pepper as desired. Take one of the sprigs of rosemary, holding it at the end where there are less leaves – gently pull down towards the top to separate the leaves from the woody stem. Continue with the other two sprigs. Chop the rosemary and sprinkle half over the tomatoes. Roast like this for an hour and a half to two hours. Checking about half way through to see if there needs a top up slightly on the water. After about an hour and a half, turn the oven up to broil and get those now wrinkly little loves a bit hotter, a very slight browning on the top. Watch to make sure they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. *Very important that it cools, the tomatoes will likely be still in tact, so biting into one would spray super hot fluid all over the mouth*. Once the tomatoes have cooled, transfer them to a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Add the remaining rosemary.
Slice the sourdough and place under the broiler for a few minutes to toast. Rub with a bit of olive oil on the way out, then spread the roasted garlic all over like butter. Top the garlicky slices with the bruschetta and finish with a drizzle of balsamic reduction.
*The balsamic really brings the whole thing together with it’s tangy sweetness, it’s super easy to make – simply add some balsamic vinegar to a pot and bring it up to almost a boil. Get the sides bubbling, soon it will turn a bit thick. Take it away from the heat and allow the balsamic syrup to cool.