Usually around this time of year I’m huffing and puffing about the heat and the sweat and the inability to get anything done as a direct result of the heat and the sweat. The only solution is to live off iced tea and popsicles… hardly an option with a toddler who is as interested in Popsicles as I am in eating cheerios off the floor.
But this summer? Get outta here. It’s perfect! We’ve had a few sticky heatwaves that caused us to hide inside huddled around our one window AC unit (obviously in R’s room since her comfort reigns supreme and we are but mere slugs) but for the most part it’s been my kind of summer; breezy 23ish with sunshine and cool evenings. Weather you can make dinner in, move about in and generally relish in without worrying that your boob sweat will make your friends uncomfortable.
Since it’s not quite time for local tomatoes yet, I’ve been buying greenhouse varieties grown in this area. They are tasty, but not nearly as good as the heirlooms I’m waiting on in the garden, the ones that have just a touch of give to their flesh and are still hot from the sun.
To make the greenhouse tomatoes a bit sweeter and juicier, we’ve been roasting them with a toss of salt and pepper and a few cloves or garlic. Once their skins have split and the innards are starting to slump out of them, you’re ready to rock and roll. They sit pretty atop anything from mac and cheese to grilled fish. Tacos to noodle bowls. Full of umami flavour, they can brighten a grain salad or lift a regular old slice of grilled bread to new levels of yummmm.
Here I’ve roasted some cocktail tomatoes on the vine with lots of garlic and chili, snuggled them into a creamy white bean puree with herbs from our garden smeared on grilled sesame bread. A drizzle of olive oil and balsamic and you’ve got a quick and impressive lunch when guests pop by for lunch. This makes a stellar dinner for one, two, or 10 with a hearty salad on the side.
Roasted Tomato & Garlic Crostini with Herbed White Bean Puree
makes 4 toasts
12 cocktail tomatoes (approx), on the vine or not
5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/8 tsp (pinch) red pepper flakes
2 tbsp olive oil
4 slices crusty bread
good quality balsamic vinegar, for serving
extra virgin olive oil, for serving
Herbed White Bean Puree, recipe follows
Preheat oven to 375.
Place tomatoes and garlic cloves in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle the salt, pepper and chili flakes. Drizzle with olive oil and gently shake the pan around to coat the tomatoes and garlic. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until tomato skins has split and the flesh is oozing out. The garlic should be very fragrant and golden to deep golden brown.
Turn oven up to 400. Remove tomatoes from the oven, brush your slices of bread with some of the oil left in the bottom of the tomato pan and smoosh the roasted garlic cloves over the bread. Toast until it’s done to your liking, I like mine golden so about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and smear with a generous portion of the white bean puree and top with 4 tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic and eat while still warm (but mind the tomatoes – they can burn if they explode in your mouth while hot!)
Herbed White Bean Pureé
makes 1 1/2 cups
1 cup soaked/canned white beans
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh herbs*
Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add more lemon or salt if needed.
*I used what we had in our garden which happened to be arugula, basil, parsley.