I have a hard and fast rule regarding the use of tomatoes in winter, and it goes like this: never, ever, ever, ever buy tomatoes in the wintertime. They are pale, tasteless shadows of their summer selves, and it’s just not worth it. So how do us tomato-lovers get through the long winter months waiting for our red and juicy friends to reappear in farmer’s markets and our mother’s gardens? There are WAYS, and here they are. First of all, cherry tomatoes are fine all year round. I have no idea why, but for some reason the brave little cherry tomato is sweet and perfect all year round. And easier to cut up. I love you, cherry tomatoes.
Second, many recipes (like the best recipe I’ve ever found for tomato sauce) will work just fine with canned tomatoes. If you can find the Muir Glen or San Marzano versions, you are golden. And last but not least, you can buy plum tomatoes. Out of season they will still taste very disappointing if you eat them raw…but if you roast them, it’s a whole ‘nother story. Especially if you give them a nice soak in some olive oil and garlic and rosemary first. (Come to think of it, pretty much anything would taste fabulous soaked in olive oil and garlic and rosemary first!)
Once they’ve been soaked, you’re going to roast them until they are soft and tender, and they will have also turned rich and flavorful. Now you can take some toasted bread and top them not only with these resurrected tomatoes, but also some prosciutto, some ricotta and a little bit of curly frisee lettuce. (And if you want this recipe to REALLY sing, take ten extra minutes and make your own ricotta…click here to find out how to do it. It’s so easy you won’t believe it.)
So! While we are waiting to get our summer tomatoes back, here’s the recipe to tide you over.
Serves: 6 bruschetta
- 6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 large plum tomatoes (about 1½ pounds), quartered lengthwise
- 12½-inch-thick diagonally cut baguette slices (each 3 to 4 inches long)
- 12 tablespoons ricotta cheese, divided
- 6 thin prosciutto slices, cut in half
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup frisee lettuce, chopped
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Stir 6 tablespoons oil, garlic, rosemary, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in large bowl to blend. Add tomatoes and stir to coat. Let stand 5 minutes.
- Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lay the tomatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet, Save the marinade for later.
- Roast tomatoes until skin is browned and blistered and tomatoes are very tender, about 35 minutes. Cool tomatoes on sheet.
- Arrange bread slices on another rimmed baking sheet. Brush top of each with reserved marinade (including garlic and rosemary bits) and toast the bread in the oven it is golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool toasts on baking sheet.
- Spread 1 tablespoon ricotta cheese on each toast and sprinkle with it with pepper. Fold prosciutto halves in half again and place on ricotta. Put two tomatoes on top of prosciutto. Whisk lemon juice and remaining 1 teaspoon oil in medium bowl to blend; season with salt and pepper. Add frisee and toss to coat. Top bruschetta with frisee, place on a platter and serve!
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit