Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomato Bruschetta

Sometimes, I feel like a 30-year-old in a 21-year-old’s body. The feeling becomes more apparent as holidays approach and I find myself coveting the role of hostess of a festive celebration that runs no risk of degenerating into a drunk-fest. It isn’t that I hate parties. I went to a friend’s birthday party last night (chocolate cake in tow, of course!) and enjoyed myself, but left early and was pretty content doing so. I enjoy things like that because I enjoy the people – but the activities? The Food? Not so much. I long for a backyard of my own, a grill of my own, and friends to sit around a picnic table with, sharing stories, wine, and good food.

Because this form of celebration is practically alien to most people my age, my spirits can get a little dampened when a holiday approaches and I come to understand first-hand the sociological contradiction of real vs. ideal. This year’s 4th of July wasn’t much different, but when I sat down and talked to Mama Floptimism about it (she will always be my best friend, no matter how old I get), she helped me create a solution. I could create the most traditional, satisfying 4th of July dinner menu for us to enjoy together, and then we would go down to a neighboring high school to see fireworks. Nothing fancy, nothing special, and still not ideal, but at the very least something I could get excited about.

I’m planning my menu last minute. I have a feeling many of you already know what you’re making or ordering for Monday, but if you need last minute additions to the menu or find yourself invited to an impromptu gathering, I’d like to suggest this slow-roasted bruschetta that I made a little while back. I found it to be perfect perched on top of lightly roasted eggplant (grilled would be even better!), but crusty bread would be a more traditional and equally tasty alternative. The bruschetta is bursting with the flavor of cherry tomatoes, and I love that there isn’t much added to distract from that. Add some fresh basil for an added pop of color, and you have yourself a knock-out appetizer for July 4th.

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the bruschetta because I somehow managed to erase a batch of pictures when trying to upload them, the ones from this recipe included. It looked very elegant though, and I served the eggplant and bruschetta in stacks for a larger, sophisticated serving. 

Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomato Bruschetta, courtesy of Eating Well
Yield: 7 larger, 14 smaller servings

The Ingredients
3 pints cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup sliced fresh basil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
14 slices grilled eggplant (1 medium)* or toasted baguette, for serving

The Method
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and place the tomatoes on a baking sheet. Top with oil, garlic, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat completely. Roast for 45-55 minutes, or until the tomatoes have broken down. Mix the tomatoes with the basil and vinegar and place on top the eggplant or baguette slices to serve.

*If you’re using the eggplant, lightly slat the slices and allow to drain in the sink for at least 20 minutes before rinsing, patting dry, and grilling/roasting.

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