Tomato and Basil Crostini

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I never realized until this year that tomatoes tend to ripen toward the fall.  Maybe because I’ve never grown tomatoes before!  I still haven’t, but Jason has been thanks to some heirloom and cherry tomato plants from JJ Mills. We have been enjoying fresh vine-riped tomatoes immensely.  They are soooo sweet!  And here is a great recipe using fresh tomatoes…even if they come from the grocery store.

I searched out this recipe by Ina Garten recently (thank-you Pinterest) after having the most amazing tomato bruschetta at a friend’s house…full of bold, fresh flavors!  It’s a great appie for Labor Day weekend, using fresh ingredients available at this time of year.

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Tomato and Basil Crostini
  • 1-2 fresh baguettes
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 2 ounces spreadable cream cheese
  • ⅔ cup good olive oil, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 large cloves)
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 pounds ripe heirloom tomatoes or multicolored cherry tomatoes
  • 3 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 3 Tablespoons finely julienned fresh basil leaves
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Slice up the baguette and brush with olive oil. Place on a cookie sheet or two.
  3. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside.
  4. Toast pine nuts over medium heat in small pan on stove. Watch closely as they will only take a few minutes to brown.
  5. For the whipped feta, place the feta and cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or a Magic Bullet.
  6. Pulse until the cheeses are mixed.
  7. Add ⅓ cup of the olive oil, the lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and process until smooth.
  8. For the tomatoes, up to an hour before serving, combine the garlic and vinegar in a medium bowl.
  9. Whisk in the remaining ⅓ cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper.
  10. Cut up tomatoes into ½ inch dice.
  11. Add the tomatoes, stir gently, and set aside for 10 minutes (or for longer, put in the fridge covered).
  12. To assemble the crostini, spread each slice of bread with a good amount of whipped feta.
  13. With a slotted spoon, place the tomatoes on top.
  14. Put the crostini on a platter and scatter with the pine nuts. Sprinkle with the basil and serve.

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It may seem like a bit of an effort, but you can make the whipped feta in advance and keep in the fridge.  A quicker option would be to just spread goat cheese on the crostini instead of the whipped feta….I may try that next time as my motto is that goat cheese is ALWAYS a good idea!  You can also toast the pine nuts in advance.  And the “dressing”…the garlic, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper can be mixed ahead of time and then just add the diced tomatoes…up to an hour ahead and refrigerate.  So you really can make it in stages and just assemble before your guests arrive.

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That’s a lot of yumminess in just a few bites!