Summer eating lends itself well to simplicity. Fresh garden produce is abundant and needing little adornment – since everything is so fresh and tasty, why complicate things?
On a recent Friday night, we took our dinner out to the flourishing garden and served it up, picnic style. We picked baby peas from the vines and pulled carrots from their rows, and ate them with a buttermilk dip. I also thinly sliced new radishes and served them on buttered bread for a simple summer favourite.
But the stars of the picnic were the slow-roasted tomato and Parmesan tartines with fresh basil. Now, while the name may sound fancy, tartines (or crostinis) are really nothing more than slices of grilled or toasted bread topped with something lovely. It can be as simple as store-bought chutney and a slice of aged cheddar, or a vibrant sweet pea and mint puree.
With tomatoes beginning to ripen in the garden, it’s time for a recipe that puts them in the spotlight where they belong. I chose tartines because they are simple to make and can easily be packed up for a picnic; just transport the toast and tomatoes separately, then assemble on-site and top with a little Parmesan and a fresh basil leaf.
Slow-roasted tomatoes are dynamic little morsels that pop with flavour. When you’re not piling them on toast, you can add them to pasta dishes, heap them on pizza or sandwich them into grilled cheese. .
Whether your entertaining a group of friends or picnicking for one, these slow-roasted tomato tartines are the perfect mid-summer bite. They take a considerable amount of time in a low oven, so be sure to plan for that
Slow-roasted tomato and Parmesan tartines recipe
- 4 large tomatoes, cored
- ¼ cup olive oil, divided
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 baguette
- Parmesan shavings
- About 12 fresh basil leaves
Preheat oven to 225ºF /110ºC and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a cooling rack on the sheet and brush it lightly with oil.
Slice tomatoes in 1 cm rounds and arrange them side-by-side on the oiled baking rack. Brush about a tablespoon of olive oil onto the tomatoes and sprinkle with pepper.
Place the sheet in the middle rack of the oven and slow-roast the tomatoes for 5-6 hours. Ovens may vary – the tomatoes should have shriveled slightly and partially dried, but still be soft to the touch. Cool on the rack to room temperature; discard the parchment.
Increase the oven temperature to 350F. Slice the baguette into ½ inch rounds and arrange on the same baking sheet. Brush generously with remaining olive oil.
Bake for 10 minutes or until the bread is light golden. Remove from oven and cool completely.
To serve, top toasted baguette with slow-roasted tomato sliced. Shave Parmesan on top in large pieces. Top with fresh basil and enjoy.