Make the lemon cheese and olive-oil toast while the tomatoes roast. Or roast the tomatoes (through step 3) and make the lemon cheese up to 2 days ahead; cover separately and chill. Bring to room temperature to serve.
8 Roma tomatoes (equal size, 1 1/2 lb. total), rinsed and cored
1 onion (about 8 oz.), peeled and finely chopped
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
Lemon cheese (recipe follows)
Olive-oil toast (recipe follows)
About 2 cups arugula leaves, stemmed, rinsed, and drained
How to Make It
Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise. Lay halves cut side up in a single layer in an 8- by 12-inch oval or rectangular casserole (rim should be at least 1/2 in. higher than tomatoes).
In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan, combine onion, vinegar, sugar, olive oil, and ginger. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often. Pour over tomatoes.
Roast in a 400° oven (convection not recommended) until tomatoes are dark brown and sauce is browned and thickened (bubbles will be large and shiny), about 1 1/4 hours; baste tomatoes with sauce and onions about every 15 minutes at first, then more frequently as mixture begins to thicken, to avoid scorching. Use hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Spread lemon cheese equally on oiled sides of the olive-oil toast slices. Set on plates and cover equally with arugula leaves. Spoon tomatoes and juices equally onto toast slices. Add salt to taste.
Lemon Cheese: In a food processor or bowl, combine 1/3 cup cream cheese (at room temperature), 1/3 cup packed fresh chèvre (goat cheese), 2 tablespoons milk, and 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel. Whirl or beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until blended.
Olive-oil toast. Lay 8 slices of rustic white bread such as sourdough or ciabatta (about 3 by 4 in., cut about 1/2 in. thick) in a single layer in a shallow 10- by 15-inch pan. Bake in a 375° oven until lightly browned on the bottom, 5 to 6 minutes. Turn slices over and brush equally with about 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Continue baking until golden brown and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes longer. Use warm, or let cool on a rack.
Great recipe but a little too sweet. Will cut brown sugar in half next time. I used fresh large grape tomatoes and basil from my garden rather than roma tomatoes and ginger. I also did not have time for the lemon cheese so used fresh mozzarella instead. Was a great appetizer and will be used at future dinner parties !
This is probably one of my favorite recipes of all time. I omitted the cheese completely (can't eat it) and found them to be delicious. My husband put fresh mozzarella and also loved it. I can't wait to make this again.
Wow! I cannot get over this recipe. I made it for family over the holidays and everyone could not get enough of them. The sauce is outstanding. The second time I made them I only used fresh mozzarella and brushed the toast with olive oil and lemon juice...delicious!!!
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